After a 550-mile journey from the south coast, the forward island of HMS Queen Elizabeth has safely arrived in Rosyth to join the rest of the carrier. The iconic 700-tonne structure passed beneath the Forth Rail Bridge at mid-day yesterday and is now in the dockyard, where it will be raised on to the flight deck of the future flagship next month.
Four days after leaving Portsmouth where it was built, the forward island of the future carrier reached its destination in Rosyth, where the bulk of the 65,000-tonne flagship is waiting for it to be installed.
The island – one of the two in the unique design of Queen Elizabeth and her sister Prince of Wales – is home to the bridge, accommodation for the captain and his navigation team, chart house, mess and pantry among 100 compartments in the 700-tonne structure.
“The arrival of the forward island is a key stage in the programme to deliver HMS Queen Elizabeth,” said Ian Booth, programme director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance – the collaboration of MOD and the defence industry to build Britain’s biggest warships.
“Seeing it arrive at Rosyth is a proud moment and underlines just how far the alliance has come over the last few months.
“Current planning will see Queen Elizabeth structurally complete the end of this year.”
The island has been fitted with a special 78-tonne lifting crane which will allow the Goliath crane, which dominates the Rosyth skyline, on to the flight deck next month.
Later this year it will be joined by the aft island, home to Flyco – flying control – from where flight deck operations involving the ship’s air group of F35 Joint Strike Fighters, Merlin, Chinooks and other helicopters, will be directed.
Naval Today Staff, February 12, 2013; Image: Royal Navy