Aircraft carrier section ready for sea journey to assembly facility

Posted on 4 Feb 2013

The BAE Systems-built Forward Island from which HMS Queen Elizabeth will be commanded is ready for her first sea voyage.

The iconic section, known as Upper Block 07, is the hub of the ship as it contains the main bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.

Paul Bowsher, QE Class project leader for BAE Systems in Portsmouth, said: “It is a very proud moment to see her leave the hall, but we are already looking forward to her return home to Portsmouth as part of the largest warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy.”

It is the first block to depart with her final paint colors applied, all windows fitted and consoles installed, along with 43km of cables and 3,101 pipes. She also proudly displays the HMS Queen Elizabeth crest.

Weighing 680 tonnes, the Forward Island was today carried onto a barge that will depart next week for Rosyth where final assembly is underway. A transportation team will now spend the next four days ensuring the structure is fully secured to the barge.

The Forward Island recently passed a Ministry of Defence audit on all compartments and a full BAE Systems care and protection inspection to ensure the block is weather proof and able to undertake the sea journey. A 78 tonne lifting frame has also been attached to allow the Goliath Crane in Rosyth to lift it onto HMS Queen Elizabeth in March.

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.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first aircraft carrier to use an innovative design of two islands. The second “Aft Island” operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency.