Aircraft carrier build reaches next key phase

Posted on 10 Apr 2012
Housing the two main engine rooms, a medical area and accommodation, LB04 will weigh over 11,000 tonnes on completion

Two giant blocks comprising aircraft carrier HMS Elizabeth’s Lower Block 04 (LB04) were yesterday brought together for the first time at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard.

Using a fleet of 132 remote controlled transporters, a section of the new supercarrier weighing over 4,000 tonnes was manoeuvred 100 metres across specially reinforced concrete.

In a two hour-long move, the section was lined up with the rest of the block, which will collectively form the aft section of the HMS Elizabeth’s hull.

Workers are now tasked with the process of aligning the units and closing the five centimetre gap over the next week, in preparation for welding the block together.

Housing the two main engine rooms, a medical area and accommodation, LB04 will weigh over 11,000 tonnes on completion, standing over 23 metres tall, 86 metres long and 40 metres wide. The block, which will be transported to Rosyth in the Autumn, will be the last hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth to arrive and will join the other units and sections of the ship in dry dock where she is being assembled.

Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class project director at BAE Systems, said: “Bringing together Lower Block 04 marks the beginning of an exciting stage in the block’s life. Once the link up is complete, the team will shift their focus back to the outfitting of the block, including installing 12,000 pipes and 100,000 kilometres of cables, ahead of her departure to Rosyth later this year.”

At Govan, work also continues on the mid section of the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s twin, HMS Prince of Wales. Since the first steel was cut on this section in May last year, over 80 units of LB03 are currently in production.Meanwhile, workers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth are gearing up for the transit of Lower Block 05 and Lower Block 02 of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Rosyth at the end of April and May respectively.

The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK MoD. BAE Systems has an overarching role in managing the QE Class programme, as well as playing a central role in the design and build of the ships.