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HMS Queen Elizabeth sidelined from largest NATO exercises

HMS Queen Elizabeth sidelined from largest NATO exercises

The Royal Navy said that HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) could not lead the largest NATO Exercise, the Steadfast Defender, since the Cold War as a problem on its starboard propeller shaft was discovered during pre-sailing checks. Therefore, the sister vessel HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will replace The HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) at the exercises off Norway’s Arctic coast.

The change of plans is almost a reverse scenario of what happened in August 2022 when the HMS Prince of Wales (R09) broke down in August 2022, only one day after setting sail for the United States, due to a broken propeller shaft that was misaligned when installed.


The aircraft carrier had to be towed back to port from the Isle of Wight, and the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) took its place in the exercises. After the HMS Prince of Wales (R09) incident, the propellers on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) were also checked, and no misalignment was discovered. The defects were “not a class issue,” the Ministry of Defence confidently said in April, although the latest failure will raise questions about how effective the checks on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) were.