Forward Island of Queen Elizabeth carriers leaves Portsmouth
The forward island of HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth today bound for Scotland where she will be joined to the rest of the Royal Navy’s future flagship.
The iconic structure began its 550-mile journey to Rosyth, Scotland, where the rest of the ship has been assembled in the specially-extended Dock No.1. Watching the departure of the 680-tonne island, which took four days to secure to the barge and has been weather-proofed for its first sea voyage, were many of the BAE workers who built it.
Paul Bowsher, QE Class project leader for BAE Systems in Portsmouth, said: “Today is a day of celebration – it is both an important and iconic milestone in the programme to build the nation’s new flagships. The delivery of the forward island marks a new and exciting phase in the programme when we begin to really see the immense scale of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as the first ship comes together at Rosyth.”
She is the first block to depart with her final paint colours applied, all windows fitted and consoles installed, along with 43km of cables and 3,101 pipes. She also proudly displays the HMS Queen Elizabeth crest.
The 680 tonne Forward Island will be lifted onto HMS Queen Elizabeth in March and stand taller than the Niagara Falls at 56 metres after the Long Range Radar has been installed on top.
Cdr Steve Lynn, the ship’s weapon engineer officer, said: ““You notice change and progress almost every day. Different sections are being added constantly. But when the island is lowered into place, that’s the point that Queen Elizabeth will look like a true warship. This ship will be the centrepiece of the Royal Navy for the next 50 years. This is a very exciting place to be.”
The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability. They will be based in Portsmouth where significant investment is already underway to prepare for their arrival.