HMS Queen Elizabeth – the biggest warship in the British naval fleet – has sailed into New York for a week-long visit.
The £3.1bn behemoth, which has 1,500 personnel on board, anchored in the Hudson River about two miles from Manhattan on Friday ahead of it hosting several major national and international events in the city.
Commuters aboard the Staten Island ferry could catch a fine view of the Portsmouth-based ship upon its arrival, as could tourists taking in the sights and sounds of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
According to its commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd, it is the biggest aircraft carrier to have arrived in New York in more than half a century.
He said: “I am delighted and proud to have brought HMS Queen Elizabeth into New York Harbour for the first time.
“This visit is very symbolic of the intimate relationship the Royal Navy has with the US Navy and Marine Corps and comes at the midway point in the F-35 flight trials.
“We have over 170 embarked US staff at the moment on board in support.”
The air wing of HMS Queen Elizabeth – which also boasts a chapel, a medical centre and a dentist – is set to feature a permanent combination of British and American jets.
Starting in 2021, US Marine Corps will operate their warplanes from the vessel. It has enough space for 36 of the cutting-edge F-35 jets.
There will be a new skipper on deck by then, with Captain Kyd to hand over to Captain Nick Cooke-Priest for the second phase of the F-35 trials.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to visit the 65,000-tonne carrier on Saturday and described its arrival in the US as “a symbol of our enduring commitment to our security and the security of our allies”.
The head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, will join Mr Williamson on board for the special Trafalgar Day dinner, which celebrates the victory of Britain and Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson over the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.
Crew stationed on HMS Queen Elizabeth will also have the chance to step onto dry land during its stay in the city that never sleeps, with trips to Times Square and the 9/11 memorial among those planned.