Britain's biggest warship sets off on maiden voyage


LONDON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The biggest warship ever built for Britain's Royal Navy, the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has left her home port of Portsmouth bound for the USA, the ministry of defence said Monday.

It will be the ship's maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on a mission that will see her practice taking-offs and landings of a new generation of warplanes.

Eight years since a British aircraft carrier last flew a fast jet from her decks, the 65,000-tonne carrier will land fast F-35B fighter jets on her deck for the very first time during tests at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, according to the ministry.

Around 200 supporting staff, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts will be joined by two test aircraft which are expected to conduct 500 take offs and landings during their 11-week period at sea.

The aim of these initial, or "developmental" trials are to ascertain, through the specially equipped aircraft and sensors around the ship, the operating parameters of the aircraft and ship, in a range of conditions. Similar successful trials were conducted by HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea earlier this year for Rotary Wing aircraft.

The ship will conduct trials in British waters over the coming days, before departing for the USA later this month, said the ministry.



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