UK’S BIG­GEST WAR­SHIP TAKES TO THE SEA

Sunday Mail (UK) - - The Judge -

years on board, I know ev­ery nook and cranny. I still do. I dream about it.”

If HMS Queen Elizabeth re­mains the stuff of dreams for Chris, there were night­mare mo­ments. While film­ing rig­or­ous fire and flood train­ing, their ne­ces­sity was un­der­lined when he was caught was up in a real emer­gency.

It fea­tures in the first episode, on BBC2 tonight at 8pm, when a pipe floods a high volt­age en­gine space. There are more to come as the HMS Queen Elizabeth un­der­goes sea tri­als.

He said: “I was film­ing pro­fes­sional sailors who know what they are do­ing but I could tell from their bear­ing and their man­ner that this was now pretty dan­ger­ous. The flood wasn’t of Ti­tanic pro­por­tions but it was bad enough and, if there had been a short cir­cuit­ing with 11,000 volts, I would have been a crisp as would ev­ery­one else. You don’t think about it at the time, you think about it af­ter­wards.

“Once we were out on the water, ev­ery­body just breathed a huge sigh of re­lief. Sailors want to be at sea, that’s where their heart is. But we were em­bark­ing on sea tri­als of a war­ship untested and un­proven.

“The cap­tain said to ev­ery­one there is not go­ing to be a cavalry com­ing over the hori­zon to help us if we have prob­lems. There will be floods, there are likely to be fires, likely to be ca­su­al­ties and he was right on all counts.

“It was ef­fec­tively an ac­tive de­ploy­ment. No­body knew from day to day, hour to hour what was go­ing to hap­pen on this to­tally untested ship, full of sorts of hid­den grem­lins and it was the crew’s job to seek out those grem­lins as bestst they could. The only way they could test the ship was to take it pretty much to break­ing point.

“I’m not go­ing to give too much away but quite a lot hap­pened. There was a case one night when some­one re­ported loud knock­ing sounds at the stern of the ship and we went to in­ves­ti­gate and that forms pretty much the main nar­ra­tive drive of film two.

“A knock­ing noise un­der­neath the ship is not good news, I’ll leave it at that.”

The tri­als are of course very nec­es­sary. The HMS Queen Elizabeth and its sis­ter ship HMS Prince of Wales have a life­span of half a cen­tury and in the in­creas­ingly stormy waters of world pol­i­tics, they are likely to be bbusy. ChiChris said:id ““ThThey givei us hhuge global reach. It’s about power pro­jec­tion, to take a mov­ing air­field, a sov­er­eign piece of Bri­tain if you like, to the other side of the world from which you can wage war or re­act to the re­quire­ments of the needy should there a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter or what­ever it is.”

“For bet­ter or for worse, we have both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales and they are now our pri­mary con­ven­tional strate­gic de­ter­rents. “That’s what we’ve got, that’s what we’ve com­mit­ted to for 50 years so we have got to make it work, that’s just the way it

is.”

10,000 peo­ple worked on con­struc­tion of the ship. Parts were made at ship­yards around the UK, in­clud­ing Go­van and Scot­stoun in Glas­gow, then trans­ported to Rosyth, Fife, where it was as­sem­bled. The war­ship is berthed in Portsmouth.

The flight deck is 280m long and 70m wide – enough space for three foot­ball pitches.

From keel to mast­head, she mea­sures 56me­tres – four me­tres more than Ni­a­gara Falls.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has a top speed in of 25 knots.

It has a range of 8000 to 10,000 nau­ti­cal miles.

It has two pro­pel­lers which each weigh 33 tons and to­gether out­put enough power to run 1000 family cars or 50 high speed trains.

There are 364,000m of pipes inside the ship.

Each of the two air­craft lifts on HMS Queen Elizabeth can move two fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 se­conds.

Jets will take off us­ing a steep ramp rather than an Amer­i­can “cat­a­pult” sys­tem. The shipp has a crew of 700, , which will in­crease to 1600 when a full com­ple­ment of F-35B jets and Crowsnest he­li­copters are em­barked. Fa­cil­i­ties on board in­clude a chapel, a med­i­cal cen­tre and 12-bed ward with three GPs and a

den­tist.

TY Lead­ing chef Mo­hamed Khan OUT TO LAUNCH Nam­ing of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2014. Right, sen­try ORF O TO SEA Queen boards ship NEW WAVE Cap­tain Jerry Kyd

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