Navy: Aircraft Carriers

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 4 March 2024.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government what action they are taking to minimise reputational damage to the UK’s Armed Forces capability, following recent issues regarding the material state of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers.

Photo of The Earl of Minto The Earl of Minto The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The recent issue on HMS Queen Elizabeth was identified during pre-sailing checks and is corrosion on a coupling on the starboard shaft caused through general wear and tear. It is not the same issue experienced by HMS Prince of Wales in 2022. It is not uncommon to have maintenance issues with state-of-the-art ships which contain complex engineering and technology. HMS Queen Elizabeth is a decade old and has thousands of miles under her hull, conducting operations around the world.

As a replacement, HMS Prince of Wales was able to deploy to take part in Operation Steadfast Defender in seven days, which is a huge undertaking. This ability to rapidly deploy another carrier to an urgent task underlines the importance of having two aircraft carriers, providing flexibility and the ability to project power around the world.

The Royal Navy continues to meet its operational commitments at home and abroad.

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