Workers at BAE Systems moved the biggest section of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, out of the company’s shipbuilding hall at Govan for the first time.
A team of 40 moved the 11,300 tonne aft section, known as Lower Block 04, across the specially reinforced tarmac at the yard in less than three hours using 450 remote controlled transporters.
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class block delivery director at BAE Systems, said: “The sheer size and complexity of the block both highlights the skill of workforce here on the Clyde and the huge amount of progress which we continue to make on the programme to deliver the nation’s flagships.”
Today, the block will be loaded onto one of the two biggest sea-going barges in the world in preparation for her journey to Rosyth where the aircraft carriers are being assembled.
The 600-mile journey will take Lower Block 04, which stands 20 metres high and 80 metres long, around the north coast of Scotland.
The load out of Lower Block 04 comes 34 months after the first steel was cut on the section in January 2010.
It is the largest hull section equating to around 20% of the overall weight of the ship, and the final hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth to arrive in Rosyth.
Approximately 250 employees from the Clyde will follow the block to Rosyth where they will work in partnership with employees at Babcock to complete the assembly phase of this section of the carrier.
Meanwhile, production on both Lower Block 03 and 04 of HMS Prince of Wales continues to progress at Govan, while the aft island for the first ship is underway at the company’s Scotstoun yard. BAE Systems is also manufacturing sections of hull at its Portsmouth facility.
The aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence.