UK

Queen bids farewell to carrier Ark Royal

  • 5 November 2010
  • From the section UK

The Queen will take a royal salute at Portsmouth as she bids farewell to the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.

The fleet flagship is being axed after 25 years' service as part of the Government's defence review.

The Navy's Harrier jump jets are also being retired.

The Queen will inspect an honour guard and attend a commemoration service before joining the ship's company and their families at a reception.

The decision to axe the Ark will leave the Navy without the capability of launching fixed wing aircraft.

It will be up to a decade before replacement ships and aircraft come into service.

Her former CO, Rear Admiral Terry Loughran, said the scrapping of the Harriers gave him the greatest concern and highlighted that the review was far from strategic.

"Ark Royal is the best known ship's name to the nation and it's very sad to see the pride of the fleet go this way.

"But the ship itself is only steel and its heart is the people in it and that support will live on."

Ark Royal was built at the Swan Hunter yard at Wallsend in December 1978 and was launched by the Queen Mother.

She also accepted it into service in July 1985 and it was commissioned in November of that year.