Next year, the UK’s first aircraft carrier of the Queen Elizabeth Class will start sea trials ahead of its official launch.
The two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be based in Portsmouth when they are fully commissioned, with the first to make its debut sea trial in the spring.
Some people have questioned the need for these ships, which will be the largest and most powerful warships in UK history, but I see them as an integral part of our future defence system.
Incorporating all three Armed forces, each ship will be able to accommodate 1600 personnel and up to 36 F-35s. In fact there are many amazing facts surrounding the building of these vessels. Each one is 920 feet long, which is longer than the Houses of Parliament and nearly 200 feet tall, which is taller than the Forth Bridge.
Costing over £6 billion, the project has employed more than 10,000 people including 800 apprentices.
Weighing 65,000 tonnes, they will have 17 decks, with the four acre top deck big enough to house four jumbo jets.
With a range of 10,000 nautical miles, there are fitness suites and cinemas on board. The bakery will have the capacity to make 1,000 loaves each day and the fog horn can be heard more than two miles away.
As a maritime nation, a huge amount of the UK’s economic activity depends on the sea and I am looking forward to these magnificent vessels becoming part of our fleet.
They will go a long way to making our nation safer for now and for generations to come.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful 2017.