Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth waved off as it sails for sea trials

By Ben Mitchell, Press Association

Well-wishers have waved off the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it set sail for sea trials.

Swimmer Dale Marie was dwarfed by the 65,000-tonne warship as it sailed through the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour.

The local resident said: “It’s an amazing sight, you feel completely overwhelmed from the water as she sails past.”

Bather Dale Marie waves as Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth sails out of Portsmouth Harbour (Ben Mitchell/PA)

The carrier left is home at Portsmouth Naval Base to embark on five weeks of sea trials and training before it will sail again to the US later this summer.

During the Transatlantic trip later this summer, the carrier will stop at a port in the Washington area to host the Atlantic Future Forum – which aims to bring US and UK industry and military together to address the changing nature of warfare and shared threats.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said it was a testament to the “enduring transatlantic defence relationship” that the ship will have visited the US twice.

Well-wishers wave off Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it sails out of Portsmouth Harbour (Ben Mitchell/PA)

During the US deployment – known as WESTLANT 19 – the ship and its crew will conduct deck and warfare trials with F-35 jets, as well as rotary wing training with Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

It will make a number of port calls while deployed, before returning to the UK ahead of Christmas.

HMS Queen Elizabeth sails past the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common (Ben Mitchell/PA)

The ship returned to its home port of Portsmouth last month after its commanding officer, Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, was removed from post for using an official car for personal journeys.