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Royal Navy's biggest warship unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II


Royal Navy Merlin helicopter hovering above the new Queen Elizabeth class carrier in build at Rosyth Dockyard. Photo: Royal Navy.

LONDON (PTI): Queen Elizabeth II recently marked the official launch of the Royal Navy's biggest warship in her name with the smashing of a bottle of whisky on the hull of the 65,000-tonne ship in the UK.

The first of two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers being built as part of a 6.2-billion pounds shipbuilding programme is the largest warship, dubbed as a "super carrier", in the country's history.

"It marks a new phase in our naval history," the Queen said at an official naming ceremony in Fife's Rosyth dockyard in Scotland.

"In sponsoring this new aircraft carrier, I believe the Queen Elizabeth (ship) will be a source of inspiration and pride for us all," she said.

"May God bless her and all who sail in her," she said.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord, said the christening of the ship heralded the beginning of the next chapter for the Royal Navy and defence.

He said: "Creating this much capacity takes you into the world of diplomacy, politics and military power in a way that we haven't had before. It is a huge day for the Royal Navy."

"To take responsibility for the biggest warship we have ever built, to bring it in to play for the rest of defence, to work with the army and the air force, to maximise this capability, it really is a huge day," he added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who attended the function along with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, said it was a "very proud day" for Scotland and the UK.

The warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is as long as 25 buses and can carry 40 jets and helicopters at a time.

It will have a permanent crew of almost 1,600 when it enters service in 2020.

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