September 4, 2019 1:22 pm

‘Largest ever’ U.K. aircraft carrier to visit Halifax during NATO exercise

A F35B takes off from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

LPhot Jay Allen/Royal Navy
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According to the Royal Navy, the HMS Queen Elizabeth is “the largest and most powerful vessel ever built” for the United Kingdom, and it is set to visit Halifax.

Officials with the Royal Navy confirmed the massive 280 metres aircraft carrier will make a stop in Halifax as it makes its way down the eastern seaboard of the United States where it will conduct trials of its new F-35B fighter planes.

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The $3-billion aircraft carrier left Portsmouth, England on Aug. 30, and Rachel Epstein, a spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, said that the vessel is expected to be in Halifax within two weeks.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was commissioned in 2017 and is still in its trials and testing phase. It is expected to be put into service with the British navy in 2021.

The arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth will coincide with Exercise Cutlass Fury 2019, an exercise involving NATO vessels off the coast of North America.

In total, Halifax and Maritime Forces Atlantic will host 11 ships and more than 2,500 international sailors as part of Exercise Cutlass Fury.

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The exercise will see ships depart at 1 p.m. on Sept. 9 where they will conduct a sail past from the Bedford Basin and along the downtown Halifax waterfront.

HMCS Ville de Québec will lead the sail past and fire its saluting guns as the ships sail out of the harbour while RCAF aircraft fly overhead.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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