The ship’s arrival marks another significant milestone in a unique and successful collaboration undertaken by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA). Alongside our alliance partners, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence, we are extremely proud of the significant role we have to deliver the nation’s flagships.
Built by the nation, for the nation
The programme has been a national endeavour and a leading example of industry collaboration which, at its peak, has supported 10,000 jobs across the UK.
The ships were built in blocks across six UK shipbuilding facilities, from Scotland through to the South West of England, with more than £1.65 billion spent with nearly 700 businesses in the supply chain. The ACA also involved nearly 1,000 apprentices and 250 graduate positions, investment that has secured a pipeline of future skills.
Powerful capability where it counts
The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest, most capable and powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK, with an expected service life of up to 50 years. Once fully operational from December 2020, they will be used to launch the UK’s F-35B aircraft, delivering an uncompromising carrier strike capability to the UK’s armed forces anywhere in the world.
We are playing a crucial role supporting the F-35 and its integration with the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, to provide the UK with a fifth-generation capability, affording them the choice and flexibility to operate around the globe in support of allies.
The F-35 operates with a cutting-edge design. It is the first jet to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speed, with the ability to land vertically. Given its ability to conduct missions both from land and sea, the jets act as a formidable spine to the ‘carrier strike’ capability.
Our engineering team behind the unique flight simulator at Warton, Lancashire, has been at the heart of the preparations and integration of the aircraft with the QE Class carriers. The £2 million facility provides a complete 360-degree immersive experience and has been used by pilots to simulate thousands of take offs and landings to ensure real-life flights are as safe and effective as possible.
Portsmouth Naval Base: The home of the nation's flagships
Both carriers will be based in Portsmouth Naval Base where over £100m has been invested to update and enhance facilities within the dockyard. As lead industrial partner to the Ministry of Defence, we have an important role preparing the Base for both ships and maintaining and supporting the Carrier Strike Group.
We provide full management services in support of the carriers, including looking after their waterfront services, logistics and utilities requirements. We have managed major infrastructure investment projects on the Base including the MOD’s £30m investment in Victory Jetty and £60m investment in Princess Royal Jetty, to ensure the ships have safe and suitable homes.
We have also led on the work to create a new power source for the Naval Base, which will deliver long-term energy cost savings. The new Combined Heat and Power facility has three natural gas generators, which will provide power to the two aircraft carriers and lower the carbon footprint of the Base. At full load, the electricity generated by the facility is equivalent to that required by 28,000 homes.
Supporting the Carrier Strike Group
Parking a 280-metre carrier is no easy task but our Maritime Services Waterfront teams have the skills and expertise to provide essential connections between the ships and the Base to allow the safe movement of people and equipment.
Our team of engineers, planners, architects and designers in Portsmouth are dedicated to meeting the unique requirements of the carriers. They are helping the Royal Navy to bring the ships into full operational service by delivering planned maintenance and support, including fitting them with the equipment they need.
We will also support the other ships based at Portsmouth Naval Base, which will operate with the carriers in the Maritime Task Group, including destroyers, frigates and minehunters. Our Queen Elizabeth Class Output Management team delivers a high level of crucial ship and equipment availability and reliability. With over 40 years’ experience in delivering training to the Royal Navy, the team has also provided training services to every member of the ships’ crews.