The Aft Island, also known as Upper Block 14, is the final section of the first of class HMS Queen Elizabeth to be delivered to Rosyth. The island operates as an airport control tower and is the centre of the flight operations on the ship. Housing 110 compartments, it is over 30 metres tall and contains more than 44,000 metres of cable.
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class Block Delivery Director for BAE Systems, said: “The load out of the Aft Island marks a great achievement for the team here on the Clyde. It is a real credit to their hard work and skill that the block was completed ahead of schedule and to an exceptional standard, demonstrating the pride and drive amongst the team to deliver the nation’s flagships.”
A transportation team will spend the coming days ensuring the 750 tonnes structure is fully secured to the barge ahead of her departure for Rosyth on 16 June. On arrival the Aft Island will be lifted from the barge onto the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth by the giant Goliath Crane. Once the island has been erected onto the flight deck the ship will stand taller than Niagara Falls at 56 metres.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first aircraft carrier to use an innovative design of two islands. The Forward Island has already been erected onto the flight deck of the ship in Rosyth and houses the main bridge. Both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, increasing the survivability of the ship.
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 Queen Elizabeth 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.