HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier's first crew named

Leading Hand Claire Butler
Image caption Claire Butler said her appointment was a "fantastic honour"

A Middlesbrough woman has become the first crew member of the Royal Navy's largest ever warship - eight years before it comes into service.

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of two 65,000-tonne ships under construction in Scotland.

Rear Adm Steve Brunton presented Leading Hand Claire Butler with the first "cap tally" band for her hat with the carrier's name on it.

The carrier is not expected to be ready to deploy until at least 2020.

Ms Butler said: "Becoming the first member of the Royal Navy to wear this cap tally is a fantastic honour.

"My main task will be to set up the routines and procedures that will allow the rest of the crew to do their jobs.

Flying trials

"We are all well trained and, as a team, will make sure this warship becomes operational and helps to safeguard the world's oceans."

Six shipyards around the UK are involved in building various parts of the ship, which are ultimately being assembled in Fife.

The ship, which will have 1,600 crew members when fully operational, is expected to head to Portsmouth in 2017, with flying trials beginning in 2018 and deployment possible two years later.

"This isn't just a naval asset, this is a joint asset for the country and the government to use," Rear Adm Brunton said.

"We've already started to build HMS Prince of Wales and many of the ship's systems are being tested ashore ready to be brought on board."

The ships are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the MoD.

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