UK — Construction of Second Carrier Begins at Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Unit­ed King­dom: Pro­duc­tion on HMS PRINCE OF WALES, the sec­ond Queen Eliz­a­beth Class air­craft car­ri­er, has start­ed today at BAE Sys­tems in Portsmouth Naval Base – the future home of the Queen Eliz­a­beth Class.

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Work on the for­ward sec­tion of the hull, known as Low­er Block 02, com­menced as Com­man­der-in ‑Chief Fleet Admi­ral George Zam­bel­las cut the first steel in a cer­e­mo­ny at the company’s pro­duc­tion facil­i­ty. The huge sec­tion, which will weigh around 6,000 tonnes upon com­ple­tion, will house the ship’s machin­ery spaces, stores and switch­boards, as well as some of the accom­mo­da­tion, includ­ing 85 cabins. 

Com­man­der-in-Chief Fleet Admi­ral George Zam­bel­las, said: ““As Com­man­der-in-Chief Fleet, I am hon­oured and delight­ed to be asked to cut the steel that will be form part of the mighty hull of HMS Prince of Wales, the sec­ond of the Roy­al Navy’s new 65,000 tonne air­craft car­ri­ers. Along with HMS Queen Eliz­a­beth these two ships — each of which will be in ser­vice for over 50 years — lie at the heart of our nation­al secu­ri­ty pos­ture. With the equip­ment that will oper­ate from them, they will be piv­otal to the UK’s abil­i­ty to project pow­er at range for decades to come.” 

Mick Ord, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at BAE Sys­tems’ Naval Ships busi­ness, said: “The steel cut for Low­er Block 02 demon­strates the steady progress which con­tin­ues to be made on the car­ri­er pro­gramme. As home of the Roy­al Navy’s sur­face fleet, every­one here is huge­ly proud to be involved in one of the largest engi­neer­ing projects in the UK today and excit­ed that the ships will return to Portsmouth, as their home port once complete.” 

As a mem­ber of the Air­craft Car­ri­er Alliance, BAE Sys­tems is work­ing in part­ner­ship with Bab­cock, Thales UK and the Min­istry of Defence to deliv­er the biggest and most pow­er­ful sur­face war­ships ever con­struct­ed in the UK. The com­pa­ny has an over­ar­ch­ing role in man­ag­ing the QE Class pro­gramme, as well as play­ing a cen­tral role in the design and build of the ships. 

Con­struc­tion of the for­ward island, which will con­trol ves­sel nav­i­ga­tion and house the ship’s bridge, is also under­way at Portsmouth, while work con­tin­ues on Low­er Block 02 and the stern sec­tion (known as Low­er Block 05) of HMS Queen Eliz­a­beth. Both sec­tions are in the advanced stages of out­fit, with the team focus­ing on prepar­ing the blocks for their tran­sit to Rosyth lat­er this year, where all of the units and sec­tions of the car­ri­ers will come togeth­er to be assem­bled in the dry dock. 

Inte­gra­tion and test­ing of the ship’s com­plex mis­sion sys­tem is cur­rent­ly under­way at the company’s Mar­itime Inte­gra­tion and Sup­port Cen­tre on Ports­down Hill, whilst teams of engi­neers from BAE Sys­tems and Thales are test­ing the advanced com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems for the ships. Else­where in the Hamp­shire region, Southamp­ton-based Kemp­safe Lim­it­ed has con­tracts to sup­ply gal­ley and laun­dry equip­ment on the ves­sels and Portsmouth-based Selex Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is involved in the design of the Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Friend or Foe system. 

A sig­nif­i­cant plan of invest­ment is under­way to enhance the Naval Base, which will become the home of the two air­craft car­ri­ers when they enter ser­vice. The plan, which will cost approx­i­mate­ly £140 mil­lion, includes the dredg­ing the exist­ing chan­nel to Portsmouth to make it deep­er and wider, and refur­bish­ing the base’s jet­ties to ease access for both the QE Class and Type 45 fleet. 

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. The QE Class will be the cen­tre piece of Britain’s mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ty and will rou­tine­ly oper­ate at least 12 of the car­ri­er vari­ant Joint Strike Fight­er jets, allow­ing for unpar­al­leled inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with allied forces. 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

Kristi­na Crowe, BAE Sys­tems
Tel: +44 (0) 239 289 6232 Mob: +44 (0)7540628673

Gillian Churchill, BAE Sys­tems
Tel: +44 (0) 141 957 2150 Mob: +44 (0)7540628325

Issued by:

BAE Sys­tems, Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 24hr media hot­line: + 44 (0) 7801 717739

BAE Systems 

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