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.
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.