Employees and members of the public watched as a large sea-going barge carrying the 11,300 tonne aft section of hull, known as Lower Block 04, was towed from the company’s yard on the Clyde to begin her seven day journey to the east coast. Travelling around the north coast of Scotland, the block is scheduled to arrive into Rosyth next Sunday (11 November).
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class Block Delivery Director at BAE Systems, said: “There’s a real sense of pride here in the yard and across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance today. This is the final hull section of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and her arrival in Rosyth will mark an exciting and significant phase in the programme when we will really see the immense scale of the nation’s flagships.”
Since moving the block out of the company’s shipbuilding hall two weeks ago, final preparatory work, including sea fastening, has been undertaken by workers to prepare the block for her departure. The team has also closely monitored weather forecasts to time the block’s departure to ensure a smoother journey to the east coast.
Equating to around twenty per cent of the overall weight of the ship, Lower Block 04 is the largest hull section of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH. On her arrival, the block will be floated off of the specialist barge and moved into position in dry dock, ready to join the other sections already in place. Additionally, around 250 employees from the Clyde will follow the block to Rosyth where they will work in partnership with Babcock to complete the assembly phase.
Meanwhile, production on both Lower Blocks 03 and 04 of HMS PRINCE OF WALES continues to progress at Govan, while the aft island for the first ship is underway at the company’s Scotstoun yard. Further sections of the hull are under construction at its Portsmouth facility. Additionally, BAE Systems engineers are also delivering the design integration and testing of the ships’ complex mission and advanced communications systems.
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. BAE Systems has an overarching role in managing the QE Class programme, as well as playing a central role in the design and build of the ships.
The QE Class will be the centre piece of Britain’s military capability. Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.