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Queen Elizabeth Class
equipment / Ships

Queen Elizabeth Class

Commanding the seas with strength and might. The largest versatile flagship and leader of all our fleets, protects and defend our national interests.

Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier

3D render of a Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier


Two aircraft carriers side by side at sea

Ruling the waves

The Queen Elizabeth Class consists of the twin Aircraft Carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales - the largest and most powerful vessels ever constructed for the Royal Navy. They each weigh 65,000 tonnes, have a top speed in excess of 25 knots per hour and a range of 10,000 nautical miles.
Icey deck of an aircraft carrier with a snow-covered mountain in the distance

Always ready for launch

The flight deck of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide (roughly the size of three football pitches), and can carry up to 72 aircraft – including a maximum of 36 F-35B fighter jets, as well as any type of helicopter used by the UK armed forces.
F35 Lightning jet launches from an aircraft carrier

Straight into the action

Each ship is capable of flying 72 fast jet sorties per day (which can be increased for limited periods), and two lifts are capable of lifting four F-35 fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in just 60 seconds. The jets are then launched into action from a six-metre-high ramp (known as the ‘ski-jump’) at the end of the flight deck.

About the crew

The Queen Elizabeth Class can operate on a crew of 679, but can accommodate up to 1,600 personnel, including a full air crew, Royal Marines and, if required, refugees.

Unrivalled firepower and technology

Live firing of phalanx gun system
Did you know?

Radar-guided firepower

The carriers are well-equipped to deal with seaborne and airborne threats

The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers use three Phalanx CIWS (close-in weapon system) turrets to deal with incoming threats from the sea and air.

Comprising of a radar-guided 20mm Vulcan cannon mounted on a swivelling base, the Phalanx has a dual fire rate of 3,000 or 4,500 shots per minute and is capable of hitting targets up to a mile away. No wonder the Royal Navy uses them on the majority of its surface combat ships.

Radar system on a Merlin 'Crowsnest' helicopter

The eye in the sky

Crowsnest radars – providing vital surveillance for the entire fleet

Installed onto the Royal Navy’s Merlin MK2 helicopters, Crowsnest uses a powerful radar to provide long-range air, maritime and land tracking capabilities and ensure the early detection of potential threats to the fleet.

The Crowsnest is identifiable as a large radar dome, or ‘bag’, which sticks out from the fuselage of the Merlin and points downward when the helicopter is airborne.

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