It's an egg-on-your-face story out of Britain, where the $4 billion spent on a new aircraft carrier was apparently not enough to eliminate all leaks. The BBC reports the HMS Queen Elizabeth was found to be taking on as much as 50 gallons of water an hour due to a faulty shaft seal. The Royal Navy ship was commissioned in early December, and the issue surfaced during sea trials. Though the BBC's defense correspondent calls it a "highly embarrassing" development, the repair will not delay the sea trials schedule, says a rep for the Royal Navy, which believes the repair can occur while the ship is in the water.
Though one naval officer allows that it's an embarrassing development, "in reality [it's] no big deal. You expect to take some water in when you're operating a warship at sea." The Press Association describes the aircraft carrier, the first of a new generation of them for the UK, as "the biggest and most powerful" the country has built; it's expected to have a 50-year working life. The Telegraph has the defense secretary's characterization of the ship: "the most magnificent aircraft carrier in the world. ... She is going to make a significant difference as to what we can actually achieve and what we are able to do as a global power." (Read more aircraft carrier stories.)