The Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers (formerly the CV Future[nb 1] or CVF project) are a two-ship class of aircraft carrier being built for the Royal Navy. HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to enter service in May 2016; HMS Prince of Wales in 2018. The vessels will displace about 65,000 tonnes (full load), be 280 metres (920 ft) long and capable of carrying up to 50 aircraft.
The need to replace the ageing Invincible class aircraft carriers was confirmed by the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. From six contractors, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) selected Thales and BAE Systems in late 1999 to compete for the final contract. In September 2002 the MoD announced that the Royal Navy and RAF will operate the STOVL F-35B Lightning II variant and further that the carriers would take the form of large, conventional carriers, which will initially be adapted for STOVL operations. On 30 Jan
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