By Harriet Line, Press Association Political Correspondent
The Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier will be deployed to the eastern seaboard of America later this summer, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will stop at a port in the Washington area during the deployment to host the Atlantic Future Forum which aims to bring US and UK industry and military together to address the changing nature of warfare and shared threats.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said it was a testament to the “enduring transatlantic defence relationship” that the ship will have visited the US twice.
Announcing the deployment at the start of Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK, she said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth represents the best of British innovation and is a true embodiment of our international ambition.
“The fact that this important ship will have visited the US twice within her short service thus far is testament to our enduring transatlantic defence relationship.
“In the week that we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings it is only right that we continue to look at how we can deepen our global partnerships to promote peace and deter future conflict.”
The deployment – known as WESTLANT 19 – will see the ship and her crew conduct deck and warfare trials with F-35 jets, as well as rotary wing training with Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.
She will make a number of port calls while deployed, before returning to the UK ahead of Christmas.
The ship returned to its home port of Portsmouth last week after its commanding officer, Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, was removed from post for using an official car for personal journeys.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will play a role in the D-Day celebrations in the Hampshire city on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Theresa May will wave veterans off on their way to Normandy from the deck of the aircraft carrier alongside Ms Mordaunt and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones.
pic by LPhot Kyle Heller/MoD/Crown Copyright