Carrier Update October 2012
A busy summer saw the arrival at Rosyth of major hull sections LB02 and LB05, as well as several sponson sections and flight deck sections. Teams also lowered the bulbous bow into the dock and skidded all the massive sections together, so the front half of the ship became visible for the first time.
Since then the main focus at Rosyth has been on getting all these sections integrated. And it’s not just a case of welding them into position. Although the blocks arrive with a great deal of the fitting out complete, integrating them with the ship is a major task. As well as tasks like lifting and welding and painting, thousands of kilometres of pipes and cables need to be pulled into place and systems and equipment need to be installed.
Almost all the major parts of the hull are now at the Rosyth assembly site. LB04 is on its way. LB04, at 11,000 tonnes, is bigger than most ships currently in-service with the Royal Navy. Far from an empty shell, it is already fitted out to a high standard. Among other things the section houses a dentist, a medical centre, two engine rooms and accommodation for almost 250 men and women. The block also has over 450,000 metres of cables and more than 39,000 metres of pipes. When it arrives in Rosyth it will be moored in the non-tidal basin for a short period, before being brought into the dock. Hydraulic rams will then skid the resident 20,000 tonnes of HMS Queen Elizabeth back so the sections can be joined together. Keep an eye on the Aircraft Carrier Alliance flickr page to see the latest pics. http://www.flickr.com/photos/qeclasscarriers/
The next major section to arrive will be the iconic forward island, now nearing completion at Portsmouth. The aft island, which will house all the flight control operations, is well under construction at Scotstoun.
Work on ship two – HMS Prince of Wales – is also moving ahead well. The ship passed a milestone in October when teams in Portsmouth lifted the Wärtsilä diesel generator sets into place. These are ‘lock out’ items, which means the ship needs to be built around them, so moving them into place is a crucial stage in the build process.
But creating these ships isn’t just about building them. To make them into capable pieces of military equipment, they need to have the right kit on board. And it needs to work flawlessly. To help this happen the Aircraft Carrier Alliance has facilities where everything from top-secret mission-planning software to telephones are tested.
First Sea Lord Sir Mark Stanhope officially opened the latest facility in November. As unique as the ships themselves, the building, at HMS Collingwood outside Portsmouth, houses full-scale set ups of telephone networks, cameras and computers, all of which are put through their paces by Royal; Navy recruits, making sure they work perfectly before they are installed on-board.
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first crew members joined in October – a clear sign of the progress being made in bringing the ship to life. Captain Simon Petitt and his team are developing the ship’s operations, routines and procedures in preparation for the hand over to the MOD. Rear Admiral Steve Brunton, Deputy Director Ships and Director Ship Acquisition, is pictured presented Leading Writer Claire Butler with her new cap tally.
As HMS Queen Elizabeth takes shape she is attracting quite a bit of attention. In the space of just a few weeks the Aircraft Carrier Alliance was honoured to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and the Prime Minister, all of whom left with a real appreciation of the efforts being put in all over the UK to deliver this programme as another UK success story.
Picture of Prime Minister: Leading Airman (Photographer) Pepe Hogan, Crown Copyright 2012
Picture of Claire Butler: Leading Airman (Photographer) Paul Halliwell, Crown Copyright 2012