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  1. ITV Report

HMS Queen Elizabeth comes home to Portsmouth

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Tens of thousands of people have lined the walls of Portsmouth Harbour to welcome the UK's £3 billion aircraft carrier which has berthed at its home port for the first time.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived alongside Portsmouth Naval base where the Royal Navy's newest and biggest ship will be based for its estimated 50-year lifespan.

The 919ft, 65-000 tonne vessel has been undergoing training and tests at sea after setting out from Scotland's Rosyth dockyard in June.

Those on board and watching from the shore were treated to two separate flypasts of Royal Navy helicopters, the first featuring a Sea King, two MK2 Merlins and two MK3 Merlins, which were then joined by two Hawk jets for the second.

An 820ft (250m) exclusion zone, enforced by armed police in small boats, meant the port was effectively closed to the flotilla of boats which had turned out to greet the Queen Elizabeth.

A Champagne breakfast was held on board the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond for "VIPs and "VVIPs" from the Ministry of Defence.

We are very ready, there is still a lot more work to be done, the aircraft is still going through its testing programme in America and the ship has still some more sea trials but we are on the right track.

"The sheer size, this is the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier, the largest the Royal Navy has ever had, she is specifically built for the F35, the only aircraft carrier in the world designed for that air system, so a pretty unique capability the UK now has."

– Lt Cdr Neil Twigg, a fast jet pilot responsible for integrating the F35 fighter jet into the carrier group
Navy officers and family members also lined the jetty in the Navy base to welcome the ship, while the band of the Royal Marines played to entertain the crowds.

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