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First captain of Navy’s new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth announced
27 February 2014

The Navy today named the sailor who will take Britain’s biggest ever warship to sea for the first time.

Commodore Jerry Kyd has been announced as the first commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, taking charge of the aircraft carrier in the summer of 2015.

THIS is the man who will be the first seagoing captain of the Britain’s new aircraft carrier.

Cdre Jerry Kyd – pictured here on the flight deck of HMS Illustrious when he was in charge of her – was today announced as the first commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the biggest warship the Royal Navy has ever had.

The hugely-experienced officer – in a career spanning nearly 30 years he’s been navigator of HMS Ark Royal and later her captain, as well as commanding officer of HMS Monmouth and Lusty, in charge of Britannia Royal Naval College and is currently in command of the UK’s amphibious task group – will take charge of the 65,000-tonne leviathan in the summer of 2015.

The following year he will take the carrier – launched by the Queen on July 4 this year – as she begins her sea trials.

Cdre Kyd was told personally of his appointment by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

Guiding HMS Ark Royal into Portsmouth for her final entry on a very cold day in December 2010

“I am, of course, tremendously honoured to have been appointed as the first commanding officer of our HMS Queen Elizabeth,” Cdre Kyd said.

“She really cements us in the very top league of world class Navies and more importantly enhances our ability to defend our country and protect our nation’s interests around the world.

“By anyone’s yardstick this is an exciting new era for the Royal Navy, defence and the nation as we regenerate a fast jet carrier strike capability at sea; I am delighted to be part of this exciting journey.”
The sea trials in 2016 are the first stage of a complex period of training as the Queen Elizabeth prepares for front-line duties.

The fast jets – the F35 Lightning II, currently undergoing trials involving Royal Navy and RAF personnel in the USA – will join the carrier in 2018.

Admiral Zambellas said Cdre Kyd was “the right man to lead this iconic warship's first ship's company”

Lt Cdr Jerry Kyd as navigator of HMS Ark Royal discusses manoeuvring of the great carrier with the Duke of York in the autumn of 2001

He continued: “Jerry has jet carrier command background, decades of operational experience under his belt.

“Until he assumes command in mid-2015, Jerry will develop the key skills, international relationships and industrial partnerships to prepare for his command, marking another important milestone in our journey with the RAF to regenerate fast jet carrier capability as part of our nation's war-fighting credibility.”

As well as the enormous national effort going into building the ship – and her sister HMS Prince of Wales – there’s a similar effort to train her sailors, aircrew and ground crew so they are ready when Queen Elizabeth deploys on operations at the end of this decade.

Some 380 personnel are being trained aboard US warships and the French Carrier Strike Group as part of the Long Lead Skills Programme over the next eight years.

The future... HMS Queen Elizabeth in build in Rosyth. Picture: Aircraft Carrier Alliance

Since the beginning of last year, Royal Navy personnel have been serving with the assault ship USS Kearsarge and the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D Eisenhower, USS Harry S Truman and USS George W Bush.

“This will be the largest flight deck the Royal Navy has ever operated and we have to have those skills in place for when the Queen Elizabeth becomes operational,” said Cdre Kyd.

“There is also a careful set of plans in place where we have been taking the opportunity to use the US carriers to train our flight deck handlers in advance of joining the ship.

“It is about training our young people in advance with sustainable, professional skills that will carry them through their Service, not only with the new aircraft carrier but also the Royal Navy of the future.”