17/01/2016 UK Scotland
Second Aircraft Carrier Assembly Nears Completion
HMS PRINCE OF WALES' Aft Island lifted into place

Aft island hoisted onto HMS PRINCE OF WALES

The consortium building the UK's giant new aircraft carriers recently announced that the aft island of the second carrier HMS PRINCE OF WALES, was successfully lifted onto the vessel on the 8th of January, after its journey round the UK from Govan where it was constructed.

The 750 tonne block, built at BAE SYSTEMS Glasgow was put in place by the Goliath crane at Rosyth, and with this the assembly of the second carrier nears completion.

The newly fitted section houses aircraft control on the ship and had completed a journey of 1335 miles from the Clyde to the Forth, via the south coast of England.

Angus Holt, HMS PRINCE OF WALES Delivery Director, said: “This is a significant day for everyone working for the Alliance and there’s a real sense of excitement to see this important section being assembled on to the ship. With the second island positioned on the flight deck of HMS PRICE OF WALES the scale of the engineering and construction task that the Aircraft Carrier Alliance is undertaking is clearly visible.

“Thanks to the dedication of thousands of workers across the country we are proud to be delivering this critical capability to the Royal Navy.”

Defence Minister, Philip Dunne, said: "The final section of HMS PRINCE OF WALES being put in place marks a huge achievement for the thousands of highly skilled people across the UK that have contributed to the construction of what will be the UK's largest aircraft carriers.

"Supported by a £178 billion equipment budget, the carriers - along with our new Lightning II aircraft, which we are buying more quickly - will provide the spearhead of the UK's military capability for the next 50 years, keeping the nation safe at home and protecting our interests abroad."

As the 750-tonne island settled onto the flight deck, it sealed into place a plaque positioned underneath it. This contains the emblems of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army. The plaque was handed over to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance by Rear Admiral Henry Parker and will remain part of the fabric of the warship for its entire life.

The second of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers, HMS PRINCE OF WALES, will be structurally complete by mid-2016 and will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019 with Initial Operating Capability in 2023.

The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers in the world to use an innovative twin-island design. The Aft Island is responsible for the ship’s mission systems and acts as an aircraft control tower. The Forward Island contains the bridge and is primarily responsible for the command of the ship. While each island has a primary role, both are able to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, increasing the survivability of the ship.

The carriers will be the centrepiece of Britain’s maritime capability. Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base, which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

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 Ministry of Defence. A national endeavour, at its peak the programme directly employed 10,000 people across six build yards. While manufacturing and commissioning is now solely focussed in Rosyth, the skilled and diverse workforce is sourced from across the country, including many from BAE Systems in Glasgow and Frimley.