Work on the forward section of the hull begun last month (February 2012), as Commander-in-Chief Fleet Admiral George Zambellas cut the first chunk of steel at BAE System’s facility in Portsmouth.
The huge section, which will weigh around 6,000 tonnes will house the ship’s machinery spaces, stores and switchboards, as well as some of the accommodation, including 85 cabins.
Commander-in-Chief Fleet Admiral George Zambellas, said: “I am honoured and delighted to be asked to cut the steel that will form part of the mighty hull of HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the Royal Navy’s new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers. Along with HMS Queen Elizabeth, these two ships, which will be in service for over 50 years, lie at the heart of our national security posture.”
Construction of the forward island, which will control vessel navigation and house the ship’s bridge is also underway at Portsmouth, while work continues on Lower Block 02 and the stern section (known as Lower Block 05) of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Both sections are in the advanced stages of outfit, with the BAE Systems team focusing on preparing the blocks for their transit to Rosyth later this year, where all of the units and sections of the carriers will come together to be assembled in the dry dock.
One complete, each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The versatility of the vessels will ensure they can respond to any brief from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
A significant plan of investment is also underway to enhance the Naval Base, which will become the home of the two aircraft carriers when they enter service. The plan, which will cost approximately £140 million, includes dredging the existing channel to Portsmouth to make it deeper and wider, and refurbishing the base's jetties to ease access for both the QE Class and Type 45 fleet.
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