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Deputy Secretary in UK for Meetings, Carrier Christening

By Claudette Roulo DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, July 3, 2014 — Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work arrived in London today for a series of discussions with senior U.K. defense officials.

While in England, Work met with his U.K. counterpart, Jon Thompson, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defense.

He also had meetings with Julian Miller, the deputy national security advisor; British Army Gen. Nick Houghton, the chief of the defense staff; and Philip Dunne, the minister for defense equipment, support and technology.

A Defense Department spokesman said Work thanked the UK government for its steadfast partnership in conducting joint military operations and for its leadership role with NATO, to include hosting the upcoming NATO summit in Wales.  

Tomorrow, Work will attend the christening ceremony for the U.K.’s newest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Rosyth, Scotland, near Edinburgh.

Also attending the ceremony with Work will be Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The ship is the largest ever built for the British Royal Navy and is specially outfitted with a bow ramp to assist short takeoffs by the F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter. The ramp was designed by a joint British and American team of contractors and allows the F-35B to carry a 20 percent larger payload.

The Queen Elizabeth will be one of the most technologically advanced ships in the Royal Navy fleet. The automation of many processes means that while the new carrier is nearly three times the size of the U.K.’s existing light aircraft carriers, it will require about the same number of crew members -- around 680 sailors.

In a break from the traditional Champagne, Queen Elizabeth II will christen the ship with a bottle of whisky from Bowmore distillery in Islay, Scotland, in honor of the carrier’s Scottish builders.

As part of the ceremony, the ship will be floated for the first time. It will later be moved to a different part of the shipyard for further outfitting. Sea trials are expected to begin in August 2016, and the Royal Navy is scheduled to accept the ship in May 2017.

A second Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales, is under construction in a neighboring dry-dock and is scheduled to be accepted in August 2019.

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews