A 6,000 tonne section of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth passed under the iconic Forth Bridges, in Scotland, on Friday en-route to Babcock’s Rosyth Dockyard.
The block, known as Lower Block 02 or LB02, left BAE Systems’ Portsmouth yard, where it has been under construction for over two years, on board a specialist sea-going barge a week ago.
It makes up part of the lower section of the ship’s bow and stands over 20 metres high, 70 metres long and 40 metres wide.
Programme director Geoff Searle said: “It was tremendous to see this section pass under the Forth Bridges on its way to the dockyard where both Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are being assembled.
“Far from being an empty section, LB02 is already fitted out to a very high standard. It houses everything from machine rooms to accommodation for some of the 650-strong crew.”
Over the next few days preparations will get underway for a complex engineering effort to move the section into the dry dock where the full ship is being assembled. The barge it has travelled on will sink and the block will be floated off.
Meanwhile the Rosyth dry dock will be flooded and the 13,000 tonne section already under construction there will be floated out. LB02 will then be moved in, and the other section will be moved in behind it.
Once both sections are in place the dock will be drained and work to start integrating the sections will begin.
Marking this significant stage in the programme are 50 cyclists from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance who set off from Portsmouth Naval Base this morning. The team hope to beat the block’s time for getting all the way to Rosyth and raise thousands of pounds for charity at the same 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 UK Ministry of Defence.