Largest section of new aircraft carrier arrives Rosyth
The largest section of future carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is now complete .The gigantic aft section has been towed down the Clyde and has arrived in Rosyth, where it will be attached to the already-joined sections.
This gigantic segment– officially known as Lower Block 04 and weighing 11,300 tonnes – was carried on a barge down Glasgow’s great artery to begin a 600-mile journey around the top of Scotland. Employees at BAE Systems’ Govan yard, where the section was pieced together, and members of the public watched as a large sea-going barge carrying the aft section of hull made its way along the Clyde, past new destroyer HMS Duncan in the final stages of completion at Scotstoun, and under the Erskine Bridge. Travelling around the north coast of Scotland, the block – the final section of the hull to be finished has arrived at Rosyth where it will be joined to the rest of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Lower Block 04 is 86 metres (282ft) long, 40 metres (131ft) wide and 23 metres (75ft) high and contains the carrier’s two main engine rooms, the sick bay and quarters for some of the 1,500 sailors and air group personnel who will serve in her later this decade. “There’s a real sense of pride here in the yard and across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance today,” said BAE’s Angus Holt, in charge of block delivery for the Queen Elizabeth class.
“This is the final hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her arrival in Rosyth will mark an exciting and significant phase in the programme when we will really see the immense scale of the nation’s flagships.”
The giant block was edged out of the firm’s shipbuilding hall at Govan a fortnight and prepared for its journey by being firmly secured to the sea-going barge. The carrier team closely monitored weather forecasts to time the block’s departure to ensure a smoother journey to the east coast. On its arrival in the Forth, the block was floated off the specialist barge and moved into position in dry dock, ready to join the other sections already in place. Around 250 employees from the Clyde will follow the block to Rosyth where they will work in partnership with Babcock to complete the assembly phase.
Meanwhile, production on both Lower Blocks 03 and 04 of QE’s sister HMS Prince of Wales continues to progress at Govan, while the aft island for the first ship is under way at the company’s Scotstoun yard. Further sections of the hull are under construction in Portsmouth.
Half a dozen yards around the UK are involved in the carrier project, with some 10,000 people directly or indirectly involved in building sections, parts or providing equipment for Queen Elizabeth and her sister Prince of Wales. With the Olympics now done, it’s the biggest and most complex engineering project in the UK.
Pictures John Linton BAE