HMS Queen Elizabeth captain hails 'special moment' as he takes command of ship


The first commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth has hailed "a truly seminal moment for Scotland" as he took command of what he expects to be the last major aircraft carrier built in the United Kingdom.

Captain Jerry Kyd took command of the UK's future flagship at Rosyth Dockyard, Fife.

He said maritime warfare has "changed very little" since the Battle of Jutland, when Royal Navy battle cruisers launched from Rosyth 100 years ago next week to enforce a British blockade during the First  World War.

But he said the Queen Elizabeth will be equipped to deal with future threats, including unmanned aircraft, robotics and cyber attacks.

Captain Kyd told the Press Association: "As a naval officer I always want more ships and more aircraft carriers, but I can't see in the foreseeable future two more ships of this scale being built in the United Kingdom.

"Of course, we have built this ship with a 50-year lifespan, so unless there's a turnaround or any course that you never predict with world events, I think this is a truly seminal moment for Scotland and indeed the entire country who have come together to bring this ship together.

"It's a very special moment, and the British public should be extraordinarily proud not only of British industry for having the know-how and the skills to put this ship and the HMS Prince of Wales together."

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, which is still under construction at Rosyth, aircraft carriers are the largest surface warships ever constructed for the UK.

Captain Kyd said HMS Queen Elizabeth will be tasked with "protecting British maritime power around the world wherever the government needs it".

He added: "That's all up for debate and discussion over the coming years, but the world is a turbulent, changing, dynamic place so I can't predict exactly where we will be."

Captain Kyd said maritime warfare has "not changed a huge amount" since the First World War.

"Navies are still about projecting power around the world, dominating the oceans, making sure there is free trade," he said.

"Sea lanes are the arteries of the world's global economy. If you cut trade, you cut countries off and it's a disaster.

"We're seeing a rapid change in technology. We're seeing militarisation, robotics, the new domain of cyber and what that means in terms of the digital frontier of warfare.

"But we've designed this ship with a whole host of innovations and very high spec technology which will hopefully proof her to take advantage as those things develop.

"I predict that manned aircraft will probably die away in the coming decades, we'll see more unmanned aerial vehicles, we will certainly see more robotics and much more competition in the virtual domain.

"Nothing in life now is invulnerable - that's a fact.

"You have to see this ship as much more than just a warship.

"She is four-and-a-half acres of British power projection, she is a sea base, she is part of the UK that you can put anywhere in the world without impunity.

"It's a very flexible asset indeed, and that is why we have built them."