'Big Stick' carrier anchors off bay
Hundreds of people have lined the coast to view a giant US aircraft carrier arriving for a five-day visit.
The 100,000-tonne ship USS Theodore Roosevelt has anchored off Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hampshire, as it is too big to sail into Portsmouth Harbour.
The promenade was packed with visitors wanting to get a glance of the 1,092ft-long carrier which is affectionately known as the Big Stick.
The ship, which is making its first port of call in its round-the-world deployment, is substantially larger than the Royal Navy's next generation of carriers which weigh in at 65,000 tonnes.
More than 5,000 sailors are set to swamp Portsmouth during the visit, giving a boost to local businesses.
The visit forms parts of an ongoing partnership between the Royal Navy and US on carrier operations until the first of the new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, enters service in 2017.
Among Roosevelt's 5,226 crew are six Royal Navy aircraft handlers who are honing their skills ahead of serving aboard the first of the new carriers.
And senior officers will call on Royal Navy top brass during the visit to discuss recent global operations and get an update on the UK's carrier programme.
The Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said: "It is excellent to see US Navy carrier steel in Portsmouth. And in barely two years we will see UK carrier steel here too.
"We warmly welcome the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group - a reflection of the close partnership between our nations and navies, and the value of credible seapower in support of our shared national interests.
"Across the spectrum - from Type 45 destroyers providing area air defence for US carriers launching air strikes against ISIL, to generous US support as we regenerate our own carrier strike capability - our common bond has never been richer."
The Roosevelt is accompanied by its escort ship, the destroyer Winston S Churchill, which traditionally has a UK navigator on board to honour the ship's British connection and the post is currently held by 27-year-old Lieutenant Lynsey Sewell.
The two navies will also come face-to-face on the football field when a Theodore Roosevelt team face HMS Diamond at HMS Temeraire.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "The USS Theodore Roosevelt's visit shows yet again that UK/US relations are as close as ever. Ten days ago, I was the first of his counterparts to meet incoming Defence Secretary Ash Carter.
"Having the Roosevelt in Portsmouth today is yet another example of the world's broadest, deepest and most enduring defence relationship at work. I'm thrilled to be going aboard today to welcome the crew personally."