UK carrier stat-attack

If there’s one thing the folks at the UK Ministry of Defence’s press office really love (besides us journalists, of course), it’s a good stat. And they certainly didn’t let us down when it came to putting the scale of the Royal Navy’s newly-named aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth into simple terms that everyone can understand.

qe dew

Fair enough I suppose – the fact that the vessel will have a displacement of 65,000t might not convey the scale of the ship (shown above with an F-35B; sourced from an Aircraft Carrier Alliance video) to those without a passing interest in things maritime – so here goes [with helpful notes from The DEW Line]:

* With a height of 56m, she is taller than Niagara Falls [and Nelson's Column in London, which most British people might actually have seen]

* At 280m long she has a flight deck the size of 60 tennis courts [useful for keeping the ship's company fit and healthy, but the rolling and pitching – not to mention aircraft movements – could make play a bit interesting]

* Four jumbo jets could fit alongside each other on the 70m-wide deck [along it, perhaps, but the twin islands would get in the way, and the take-off would be challenging, to say the least]

* Her range is 10,000nm and she carries enough fuel to transport a family car to the moon and back 12 times [but only the Ford Anglia of Harry Potter fame, presumably]

* She is fitted with a long-range 3D radar that is capable of tracking more than 1,000 targets at once, or can spot a tennis ball travelling at 2,000 miles per hour [concentrate on the planes and missiles; ignore speeding tennis balls]

Fun aside, the introduction of the operational carrier – and probably also second-of-class example HMS Prince of Wales – with its embarked F-35s will bring back the big-deck carrier strike capability which the RN has lacked since the late 1970s. Bring it on, we say.


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8 Responses to UK carrier stat-attack

  1. jetcal1 8 July, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    I seem to recall the Kennedy got approximately 15″ to the gallon at 12kts, so it took around 900 gallons to move the ship its own length once it achieved said 12 knots.

  2. Peter Gordon 12 July, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Any reason why it she is not nuclear powered like American carriers?

    • Craig Hoyle 12 July, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      Our previous ships were conventional, and I don’t believe we ever considered going nuclear for the new generation. Restricts where you can go too much.

      • sferrin 12 July, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

        The USN doesn’t seem to have a problem going wherever they need to.

  3. Felipe Salles 13 July, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    The only non-US nuclear powered carrier in the world is the one-off Charles de Gaulle of the French Navy. The costs of running (and also suposedly of training nuclear engineers to run the reactor, as well as building, refueling and disposing of the ship at the end of its opperational lifespan) were so significant on the CDG that the current plans for a second Aircraft carrier for the French Navy are now set to be conventionally powered…

  4. puppethead 15 July, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    I still have trouble understanding how she can be 20-25,000 tons bigger than the Charles de Gaulle yet they can’t find room for any more planes than the French… still, it’s not like the MoD could afford to supply said extra birds anyway…

  5. Berni Smith 17 July, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Presumably tracking 1000 targets simultaneously would require 200 operators!

    • Polaris111 4 August, 2014 at 2:49 pm #


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