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HMS Queen Elizabeth: Leak found on new aircraft carrier

The UK’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is leaking because of a faulty seal.

The Royal Navy’s future flagship, which was commissioned by the Queen earlier this month in Portsmouth, has a problem with one of its propeller shafts.

The fault on the £3.1bn carrier was first identified during sea trials.

A Royal Navy spokesman said the ship is scheduled for repair and the fault does not prevent it from sailing again early in the new year.

According to the Sun newspaper, HMS Queen Elizabeth has been taking on up to 200 litres of sea water every hour because of the fault.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said the problem was “highly embarrassing” for the Royal Navy and was just one of a number of snags still to be rectified.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “An issue with a shaft seal has been identified during HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sea trials; this is scheduled for repair while she is alongside at Portsmouth.

“It does not prevent her from sailing again and her sea trials programme will not be affected.”

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Analysis

Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Portsmouth on 7 December 2017The commissioning ceremony took place on 7 December

By Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent

The Royal Navy is trying to play down the problem, after first trying to hide it.

It is clearly embarrassing.

They have known about the problem for some time but they did not want it to get in the way of the commissioning ceremony in front of the Queen.

The truth is similar leaks in other warships are not unusual and can be fixed relatively easily.

The difference this time though is the scale of HMS Queen Elizabeth and the fact she has just been handed over to the navy.

The big question is whether the leak can be fixed while it is still in the water.

The navy insists the job can be done without her going back to dry dock, which would be costly and add to delays.

Either way, the navy insists the fault will have to be rectified and paid for by the contractors, along with a list of other “snags”.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth

The Royal Navy’s largest ever surface warship

65,000

Tonnes

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£3.1bn

Cost

  • 280m Flight deck length
  • 700 Crew currently on board
  • 155,000 miles Length of electrical cable inside the ship
  • 162db Volume of foghorn
PA

The 900ft (280m) long HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its home port of Portsmouth for the first time in August after starting two months of sea trials from Rosyth dockyard in Fife, where it was assembled.

It is the first of the UK’s new generation of aircraft carriers.

A second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is externally complete but it will take 18 months to fit its internal systems at Rosyth and it will be 2019 before the ship can begin sea trials.

No planes

News of the leak comes after MPs raised concerns over the costs of the F-35 jet aircraft that will fly off HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The UK has begun a £9.1bn programme to buy 48 of the F-35s by 2025 from US giant Lockheed Martin.

But the Commons defence select committee said there has been an “unacceptable lack of transparency” over the jets, with one estimate suggesting each plane will cost more than £150m.

Read more at bbc.co.uk

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