LONDON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The build phase of Britain's newest aircraft carrier will officially end in early July when HMS Queen Elizabeth is christened at a Scottish shipyard.
Britain's Ministry of Defense said the first-of-class carrier, which displaces more than 71,000 tons, is scheduled for christening July 4, with the ship being allowed to float for the first time later in the month.
"This will be a proud and historic day, not just for the Royal Navy but for the entire nation," said Defense Secretary Philip Hammond. "This occasion will mark a major milestone in regenerating the U.K.'s aircraft carrier fleet and its power projection capability, with the first Lightning II aircraft due to begin flight trials off the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018."
The ministry said more than 7,000 jobs at more than 100 companies in Britain have been involved in the building of the aircraft carrier, which will begin sea trials in 2017.
Assembly of the future HMS Queen Elizabeth's sister ship, the Prince of Wales, is scheduled to begin in Scotland this year.