A huge section of the hull for HMS PRINCE OF WALES, the second aircraft carrier being delivered to the Royal Navy, on July 28th departed BAE Systems in Glasgow on a 600 mile journey to Rosyth where final assembly of the ship will take place.
The 8,000 tonne section, known as Lower Block 03, weighs more than an entire Type 45 destroyer and forms the mid-section of the aircraft carrier’s hull from the keel to the hangar deck.
The block, transported by sea-going barge, is scheduled to arrive in Rosyth on Saturday 2 August where work is currently underway to prepare the dock for the final assembly of HMS PRINCE OF WALES which will begin in September.
Iain Stevenson, Programme Director at BAE Systems, said: “This delivery is a significant milestone in the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme and marks the beginning of HMS PRINCE OF WALES taking shape. The same section for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH was delivered just three years ago and it’s now a seamless part of the UK’s largest ever warship, so there is huge momentum behind the delivery of the second ship as we embark on the assembly phase once again.”
Since its load out of the business’ shipbuilding hall two weeks ago, the block has been fastened to the barge in preparation for its journey around the north coast of Scotland. Upon arrival in Rosyth, the barge will submerge allowing the block to be floated into the basin.
The departure of Lower Block 03 comes less than a month after the naming of the first aircraft carrier, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, by Her Majesty the Queen and days after the ship was successfully floated and undocked for the first time.
The aircraft carriers HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
The Queen Elizabeth Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s defence capability for the 21st century. Each 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four-acre military operating base, which can travel up to 500 miles per day to be deployed anywhere around the world. Operating the Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II jets and a number of types of helicopter, the Queen Elizabeth Class will be versatile enough to be used across the full spectrum of military activity from warfighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Press Release, July 31, 2014; Image: Bae Systems