The mid section of the UK’s first Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier left BAE System’s shipyard in Govan today, beginning the 600 mile trip to Rosyth on the east coast of Scotland.
Over the next five days, the block will travel around the north coast of Scotland before arriving into Rosyth on Sunday August 21. 50 cyclists set off from the shipyard in Govan, Glasgow at the same time in a race against the mid section, which is known as ‘Lower Block 03’.
The challenge aims to raise over £10,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. The challenge will test the fitness and endurance of the cyclists as they travel across the north of Scotland, stopping only for overnight respite at Fort William, Elgin, Peterhead and St Andrews. Their target is to arrive in Roysth ahead of Lower Block 03 on Saturday 20 August.
Minister for International Security Strategy, Gerald Howarth, said: “Excellent progress is being made on this project and it will form the cornerstone of the Royal Navy’s Future Force [in] 2020.”
Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class project director at BAE Systems, said: “Watching Lower Block 03 being towed down the Clyde gives us chance to reflect on the huge achievements of the past two years since we cut the first steel on this first section.”
He added: “The Beat the Block challenge gives everyone a fun way to get involved and it’s fantastic to see so many cyclists from across the Carrier Alliance taking part, helping to raise money for a charity that supports the men and women of our armed forces.”
On Monday August 29, the team will undertake an operation to sink the submersible barge, allowing the hull section to enter into the water for the first time. Lower Block 03 will then be manoeuvred into position in the dry dock, where around 350 Govan-based employees will rejoin the block as they work in partnership with employees at Babcock to complete the outfitting and assembly phase.
As a member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, BAE Systems is working in partnership with Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence to deliver the nation’s flagships. With advanced construction underway at six shipyards across the UK, the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme is sustaining thousands of skilled jobs throughout industry.