The Aft Island, also known as Upper Block 14, is the air traffic control tower of the ship and the centre of all flight operations. Travelling around the north coast of Scotland, the block is scheduled to arrive into Rosyth on Thursday 20 June. Once the island has arrived all sections of the first of class HMS Queen Elizabeth will have been delivered.
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class Block Delivery Director for BAE Systems, said: “The delivery of the Aft Island is a huge milestone for the aircraft carrier programme and we are extremely proud to have achieved this. The island has been completed to an exceptional standard which is testament to the skills and talent of our workforce here on the Clyde.
“Once the island has arrived in Rosyth the full scale of the nation’s flagship ship will be revealed for the first time.”
Weighing 750 tonnes, the Aft Island was carried onto a sea-going barge on 11 June. Preparations were then made over five days to secure the structure to the barge ahead of her departure from Scotstoun for the delivery voyage. On arrival in Rosyth the island will be lifted onto the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth by the giant Goliath Crane.
The build of the Aft Island was completed ahead of schedule in just 86 weeks from the first steel cut to the completed block being loaded onto the barge. Housing 110 compartments, the island is over 30 metres tall and contains more than 44,000 metres of cable.
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, thus 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 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.