After leaving the dock hall’s basin and passing through a lock, the Forward Island will pause overnight on the outer edge of the naval base ready for an early morning departure from 0800.
Paul Bowsher, QE Class project leader for BAE Systems in Portsmouth, told employees gathered to wave off the Forward Island: “Today is a day of celebration - it is both an important and iconic milestone in the programme to build the nation’s new flagships.
“The delivery of the Forward Island marks a new and exciting phase in the programme when we begin to really see the immense scale of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as the first ship comes together at Rosyth.
“I would like to thank all involved in the programme for your continued commitment and professionalism, as we work together to deliver these magnificent ships.”
A specialist transportation team from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance will now oversee the Forward Island’s 600 mile journey along the East coast of the UK to Rosyth, where the final assembly of the aircraft carrier is underway.
She is the first block to depart with her final paint colours applied, all windows fitted and consoles installed, along with 43km of cables and 3,101 pipes. She also proudly displays the HMS Queen Elizabeth crest.
The 680 tonne Forward Island will be lifted onto HMS Queen Elizabeth in March and, after the Long Range Radar has been installed on top, the ship will stand taller than the Niagara Falls at 56 metres.
The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence.
The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability. On completion, they will be based in Portsmouth where significant investment is already underway to prepare for their arrival a few years from now.
Members of the public can follow @BAESystemsplc on twitter for updates on the departure, with potential viewing spots in Portsmouth including Spice Island, Gunwharf Quays, Gosport and the harbour walls near the Round Tower.
For further information, please contact:
Derek Christie, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 1419 572 150 Mob: +44 (0)7720 745873
Adam Rang, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 2392 896 145 145 Mob: +44 (0)7525 079984
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739