26/10/2015 Scotland
Video: Engineers In Scotland Slide Mammoth Ship Sections
Prince of Wales sections 'skidded' in amazing engineering feat

Prince of Wales sections prior to joining

Video (see end of article) has been released by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance showing timelapse images of 26,500 tonnes of HMS Prince of Wales being skidded back to join the rear section of the carrier. With a combined total of over 38000 tonnes it is believed this could mean the record for this kind of operation in the UK.

The entire operation was filmed by a BAE Systems media intern and is a fascinating and strangely disquieting film, with these huge blocks appearing to jump towards each other as tiny human figures scurry between them.

The Prince of Wales is the second of two giant aircraft carriers, the largest ever fighting ships for the Royal Navy, being built in Scotland, further cementing the country's place as the home of shipbuilding in the British Isles and re-invigorating and training a whole new generation of shipbuilding engineers.

The second future flagship of the Royal Navy is being built across the UK by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance with sections largely built in Govan on the River Clyde before final assembly using a specialised hydraulic system at the Babcock firm's giant dock in Rosyth.

This precise engineering proceedure had less than a 3mm tolerance yet involved massive blocks that would tower over any town.

The ACA said this was the last operation of its type and that it was the biggest ever undertaken in the UK.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "This is a great moment for the Royal Navy and for our Armed Forces, as our second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales begins to take shape. This is one of the biggest engineering feats of the carrier programme to date, and the so-called ‘skidding’ of these giant sections is believed to be the largest ever such move in the UK. It is all thanks to the 4,000 people and hundreds of apprentices in Scottish shipyards who have shown such commitment to the Queen Elizabeth Class, supported by £3 billion invested by the MOD in the programme so far."

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