Nova Scotia

British aircraft carrier to visit port of Halifax this month

The world's newest and most-advanced aircraft carrier will make a stop in Halifax this month, on its way to visit the United States.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will stop in Canada before heading to United States

HMS Queen Elizabeth is specifically designed to work with the new F-35B aircraft. (Royal Navy)

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the world's newest and most-advanced aircraft carrier, will visit Halifax later this month, according to officials with the British Royal Navy.

The massive vessel will make a stop in the port as it proceeds down the coast to the United States, said Cmdr. Neil Marriott with the Royal Navy.

The ship will easily be the most eye-catching vessel in the harbour. It's as long as 14 Theodore Tugboats and as tall as most cruise ships.  

The aircraft carrier is still in its trials and testing phase and is expected to be put into service with the British navy in 2021, according to the Royal Navy's website. 

Like most aircraft carriers, the ship will be travelling with a naval entourage including at least one destroyer, one frigate and one support ship.

Once in service, HMS Queen Elizabeth's carrier group could grow to nearly double that size, along with the addition of a nuclear-powered submarine assigned to protect the ships from below.

The aircraft carrier acts as a floating platform for helicopters and specially-designed airplanes. (British Royal Navy)

Canada is hosting a series of military events this month, including one called Cutlass Fury. The exercise brings together ships, aircraft and submarines to practice anti-submarine warfare, according to the Royal Canadian Navy.  

Designed to work with new F-35 aircraft

Most aircraft carriers launch planes from the deck using mechanisms powered by steam or electromagnets. The planes rocket to flight velocity in just a few seconds, according to the navy. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth is different. There is no launch mechanism hidden beneath the deck. Instead, the end of the launch ramp includes a "ski jump" which helps fixed-wing aircraft take flight, according to the Royal Navy's website. 

The launch speed is much slower, because the planes deployed on the carrier are F-35B fighters. These high-tech jets can angle their engine blast downwards to create lift.

The F-35B jets can also use that same thrust to slowly descend and land. That means they can arrive on the deck without needing to snag one of the cables typically found on most aircraft carriers, according to the Royal Navy.

The F-35B fighter jet uses the ship's ramp with its own vertical thrust to get airborne. (British Royal Navy)

The visit from HMS Queen Elizabeth marks Halifax's second visit from an aircraft carrier in two years.

In 2017, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower came to Halifax to demonstrate how well the Canadian and United States navies could work together.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is slightly smaller than the Eisenhower, but will still tower over nearly every other ship in Halifax's harbour.


About the Author

Brett Ruskin


Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.