Final hull section of carrier starts trip around Scotland’s north coast

Posted on 5 Nov 2012

A large section of hull for HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two new aircraft carriers being built for the UK Royal Navy, has left BAE Systems’ shipyard at Govan yesterday to embark on a 600-mile journey to Rosyth.

Employees and members of the public watched as a large sea-going barge carrying the 11,300 tonne aft section of hull, known as Lower Block 04, was towed from the company’s yard on the Clyde to begin her seven day journey to the east coast of Scotland.

Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth class block delivery director at BAE Systems, said: “There’s a real sense of pride here in the yard and across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance today. This is the final hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her arrival in Rosyth will mark an exciting and significant phase in the programme when we will really see the immense scale of the nation’s flagships.”

Since moving the block out of the company’s shipbuilding hall two weeks ago, final preparatory work, including sea fastening, has been undertaken by workers to prepare the block for departure. The team has also closely monitored weather forecasts to time the block’s departure to ensure a smoother journey to the east coast.

Equating to around 20% of the overall weight of the ship, Lower Block 04 is the largest hull section of the carrier. On her arrival, the block will be floated off of the specialist barge and moved into position in dry dock, ready to join the other sections already in place.

Around 250 employees from the Clyde will follow the block to Rosyth where they will work in partnership with Babcock to complete the assembly phase.

Meanwhile, production on both Lower Blocks 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. Further sections of the hull are under construction at its Portsmouth facility.

The two aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence.