HMS Queen Elizabeth encounters propeller shaft debris issue on trials

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has picked up an item of debris around one of her propeller shafts officials have confirmed, quashing earlier rumours of a major malfunction.

The UK Defence Journal received information that the supercarrier had experienced issues relating to her propeller from a source at Invergordon, where the vessel is currently berthed and taking on fuel.

“Divers where down at the propellers yesterday” said the source who then added that he believed it was something to do with one of the propeller shafts. The source also pointed out to us that it was a similar story from many of the crew he spoke to at Invergordon.

We reached out to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and a spokesperson confirmed that divers had been investigating the debris around one of the propeller shafts:

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is making progress through her sea trials programme, which is designed to test the full spectrum of her systems. The ship is performing well, however an item of debris was caught around one of the propeller shafts. This was subsequently cleared and an investigation has been undertaken.

The ship is currently in Invergordon for one of her planned stops during the trials programme, to store and re-fuel the ship. As a precautionary measure, we will use this opportunity to complete further thorough checks and ensure sea trials continue safely.”

The sea trials will monitor speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.

Following this initial period, HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to Rosyth for further testing and maintenance before heading back to sea for a second stage which aims to test her Mission Systems. She will transit to her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base to be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff said:

“This is a hugely significant moment for the Royal Navy, for all our Armed Forces and for our island nation. Once in service HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the largest aircraft carrier in the world outside the United States, and the first designed from the outset to operate a fifth generation aircraft.

Already this ship represents the best of the UK’s industrial and engineering expertise, and once in service she will symbolise our military power and authority in the world for decades to come. There is still much work to do between now and then, but be in no doubt: a new era of British maritime power is about to begin.”

It should be noted that the point of sea trials is to find issues and rectify them. Things will go wrong as the vessel is essentially a giant prototype and while this isn’t one of those ‘things going wrong’, we remain confident that she’ll pass her trials with flying colours.

Original article: By George Allison, UK Defence Journal.


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