UK’S BIGGEST WARSHIP TAKES TO THE SEA
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
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
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