THE Royal Navy’s biggest-ever ship is being formally named by the Queen today at a ceremony in Rosyth, using whisky instead of the more traditional champagne.
The 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been assembled and fitted out at the Fife yard. Parts of the vessel were constructed in six yards around the UK from Glasgow to Birkenhead to Portsmouth before being brought together at Rosyth.
The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh at the naming ceremony.
First Minister Alex Salmond took his Second World War naval veteran father Robert, 92, with him.
The naming of the warship comes five years after the first metal was cut and 33 months after the first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth to begin being put together.
The ship and a second vessel – the under-construction HMS Prince of Wales – are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is now structurally complete and ready to be floated out of her dock for the first time this month.
The two ships are both termed Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence.
Labour leader Ed Miliband, who was also attending the ceremony, said: “Today we celebrate the skills and talents of the men and women who worked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“Shipbuilding has been at the centre of many communities across Scotland for hundreds of years, and today we pay tribute to the workers on the Clyde and at Rosyth who have made this project a reality.
“As part of the United Kingdom, I’m confident that shipbuilding in Scotland will have a positive future and continue to thrive.”
There has only been one previous HMS Queen Elizabeth, launched 100 years ago. The new ship’s name is both the continuation of history and a tribute to the Queen. Those behind the project, which costs an estimated £6.2 billion, say the QE Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s naval capability.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will have 679 permanent crew and capacity for 1600 crew members when fully operational.
The length of each ship is the equivalent of 28 buses. Each ship will be fitted out with more than three million metres of cable and it will have enough power to light up a small town.