Aircraft carrier

Currently being built at shipyards around the country, HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are the future flagships of the nation. Initially the ships will carry helicopters. The vast flight deck and hangar can accommodate any helicopter in Britain’s military inventory. From 2020, however, our punch will be delivered by the F35 Lightning II, the world’s most advanced stealth fighter-bomber.

Both ships are being constructed in numerous shipyards in one of the most demanding and revolutionary shipbuilding programmes ever undertaken, with the pieces being slotted together in a specially-extended dry dock at Rosyth on the Forth to create two 65,000-ton leviathans.


Explore Weapons & Missiles

  • Weapons and Equipment
  • Phalanx

    Phalanx Close-in weapon

    Phalanx is one of the deadly last lines of defence for Britain's warships. Capable of engaging targets around one mile away, it is a radar-controlled Gatling gun which fires 20mm shells, spewing out 3,000 rounds a minute.

    Designed to engage incoming enemy aircraft and missiles if they penetrated a ship or task group's outer ring of defences such as Sea Viper or Sea Dart.

    During Operation Telic, Phalanx guns were removed from ships and used to defend Basra airport, the hub of British operations,they  saw extensive action against incoming rockets and mortars fired by insurgents.

  • Crowsnest

    Crowsnest Helicopter-borne early warning system

    Crowsnest uses high power radar to provide long-range air, maritime and land tracking capabilities, and will be an integral part of future carrier operations. The Crowsnest system will be fitted to the Royal Navy's fleet of upgraded Merlin Mk2 helicopters.

Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers Future

An island nation needs a powerful navy. A simple fact, often forgotten. Go behind the scenes of the new aircraft carrier and discover its true scale and ambition.

Read about the new carrier
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has today officially named the jetty which will house the Royal Navy’s giant new aircraft carriers in Portsmouth.

Princess Royal names new jetty for Navy’s giant aircraft carriers


Aircraft carrier Latest News

Jetty completion marks major milestone in carrier works


F-35s dominate war games exercise

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She will be the Royal Navy's largest ever surface warship with a full displacement of 65,000 tonnes