HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth for maiden deployment

Video report by ITV Meridian reporter Richard Slee

HMS Queen Elizabeth has set sail from Portsmouth for her maiden deployment to Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

The £3bn aircraft carrier is heading up the biggest group of warships since the 1980s.

The 700 crew on board will visit more than a fifth of the world's nations. 

Whilst two months ago I was having sleepless nights worried that it wouldn’t happen, the people in the base, the people who man the gates, the chaperones who escort the lorries, the jetty managers, crane operators, security and everyone else involved have delivered and the ships will be fully stored and ready to go as planned for which I thank everyone in Team Portsmouth.

Head of Naval Base Operations, Steve Hopper
Facts and figures about the newest and largest Naval warship

The F35s will be among 30 aircraft across the task group, which includes HMS Diamond and HMS Defender as well as the Frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Kent.     

Over the next six months HMS Queen Elizabeth with visit forty counties and travel 26,000 miles arriving home in time for Christmas.

Each time we've gone to sea we've been increasing the scale and the complexity of our activities but to finally bring it together for this deployment with the Frigates, Destroyers, Submarines and support shipping with our international partners is truly something very special.

The carrier strike group deployment is the first operational deployment by a Royal Navy aircraft carrier for more than a decade, and will take in visits to 40 countries as it makes its way through the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and into the Pacific to return home around seven months later.