The American aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman has arrived in Hampshire on a mission to ‘strengthen regional stability’ in the North Atlantic – while Britain’s new naval giant HMS Queen Elizabeth is put through her paces on the opposite side of the ocean.
The 1,092-foot U.S. vessel arrived in thick fog on the Hampshire coast on Saturday morning as part of a North Atlantic voyage to ‘foster co-operation’ with Washington’s NATO allies.
Capable of carrying 90 aircraft, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – named after America’s 33rd president who led the country at the end of World War II – returned to sea late last month and has moored near Portsmouth for the weekend.
With the vessel docked at Stokes Bay south of Gosport, local ferry firms have been offering sailing trips to see the aircraft carrier with planes on display on the deck.
After the ship arrived on Saturday morning, queues of hundreds of sailors built up in the hangar as they waited for ferries to take them ashore.
USS Harry S. Truman carrier in Portsmouth on Saturday where thousands of US sailors will spend the weekend
A sailing boat passes the American Aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman as it arrives at Portsmouth in Hampshire
F-18 jets line the deck on board the US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman following its arrival in Hampshire
Britain’s new naval giant HMS Queen Elizabeth
Weight: 65,000 tonnes
Length: 932 feet
Propulsion: Two Rolls-Royce Marine 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternators and four 10MW diesel engines
Speed: 25 knots (29mph)
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (11,500 miles)
Ship’s crew: Currently 700, will increase to 1,600
Aircraft carried: Up to 36 fighter jets and 14 helicopters
Armament: Three Phalanx guns, four 30mm calibre guns
The U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered USS Harry S Truman
Weight: 105,000 tonnes
Length: 1,092 feet
Propulsion: Two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors and four steam turbines
Speed: 30 knots (35mph)
Ship’s crew: 3,200
Aircraft carried: 90 fixed wing and helicopters
Armament: Sea Sparrow, RIM-116 Missile and three Phalanx guns
Once on land, the sailors were met by staff from local nightclubs handing out flyers hoping to attract the young crew members into their establishments later on.
Commander Kent ‘Brewski’ Smith, the ship’s navigator, said he was looking forward to seeing a football match.
‘European football, I was hoping to catch a game, I heard Arsenal was playing in the next couple of days, hopefully I will get to do that, and working on my soccer cheers,’ he said.
Rear Admiral Eugene ‘Gene’ Black, commander of carrier strike group 8 of the U.S. Navy, said the vessel was a ‘symbol of power and flexibility’ which could be deployed wherever needed.
Describing the Russian navy, he said: ”They are professional mariners, good aviators, I am not sure I would go as far as eye-watering, I don’t lose sleep over them.
‘I’m not sure I want to go into describing the threat but I can say we bring a lot of combat power, and when you match it up with Queen Elizabeth in the near future and some of our other Nato partners, I am very very comfortable at our ability to operate where we wish, when we wish.’
Washington’s ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson said: ‘A warm welcome awaits the USS Harry S Truman here in UK waters for port visit before carrying on with deployment.’
Launched in 1996, the vessel can hold up to 5,500 people, and is home to Black Hawks and a twin rotor Osprey V22 aircraft.
The ship is part of the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet which has a mission to ‘advance security and stability in Europe and Africa’ in co-operation with its allies.
It previously docked on Britain’s south coast in July to provide backup when President Donald Trump made his first visit to the UK since he was elected.
The US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, following its arrival into Stokes Bay, Hampshire
A view of the flying deck of the USS Harry S Truman carrier in Portsmouth where the warship has moored for the weekend
US Navy personnel at work at the Harry S. Truman carrier in Portsmouth after it arrived on the south coast on Saturday
The 1,092-foot U.S vessel USS Harry S Truman arrives in thick fog on the Hampshire coast on Saturday morning
U.S. Navy personnel prepare to go ashore in the USS Harry S. Truman after it moored at Britain’s south coast on Saturday
A Navy officer stands on the flying deck of the USS Harry S. Truman in the harbour at Portsmouth today
Rear Admiral Eugene H. ‘Gene’ Black, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8, talks to the media on the flight deck
Captain Nicholas Dienna, the carrier’s commanding officer, said that Stonehenge and HMS Victory were among the top attractions for his crew.
He said: ‘From the bottom of the hearts of 5,000 men and women embarked in or assigned to USS Harry S Truman, I would like to say thank you to the people of the UK and the people of the city of Portsmouth for allowing us to spend some well-deserved time to rest in this wonderful city.
‘We have been at sea for over a month, we have been working hard, we have been operating to our maximum capacity and we are very much looking forward to a few days sampling your cuisine, seeing the sights and history of this part of the world and retouching with the roots of both of our navies.’
The $4.5billion carrier was designed to ‘project American presence and power off any coast, according to naval chiefs.
It has also supported attacks on Islamic State targets in Syria under Operation Inherent Resolve.
The U.S. Navy said the vessel’s latest mission was ‘fostering co-operation with regional allies and partners, strengthening regional stability, and remaining vigilant, agile and dynamic’.
It comes after stealth fighter jets landed on the deck of the UK’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, for the first time, as the British vessel is put through its paces on the U.S. east coast.
F-35 Lightning fighter jets touched down on the Royal Navy’s £3.1 billion flagship last week in an event which Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said marked Britain’s naval ‘rebirth’.
He said: ‘The largest warship in British history is joining forces with the most advanced fighter jets on the planet. This marks a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world.
‘The historic first landing on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth is a monumental moment in our country’s proud military history. It is also a statement of Britain’s determination to promote peace and prevent war.’
More than 500 take-offs and touch-downs are taking place from the warship over 11 weeks, with the jets being put through their paces in a range of weather conditions.
HMS Queen Elizabeth remains set to be deployed on global operations from 2021.
A member of the USS Harry S Truman crew studies a map on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier on Saturday afternoon
Aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman can just be seen through thick fog as it arrives at Portsmouth on Saturday
Commanding officer Nicholas Dienna (pictured) said Stonehenge and HMS Victory were among top attractions for his crew
A bust of President Harry S Truman after whom the aircraft carrier is named. He served in the Oval Office from 1945 to 1953
The $4.5billion U.S. carrier (pictured today) was designed to ‘project American presence and power off any coast’
An American sailor looks outside with binoculars on board the nuclear-powered USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier
A F-35B lands on board Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time as it carries out tests in the U.S.
F-35 Lightning fighter jets have conducted their first night flying trials of the United Kingdom’s largest warship