Construction of biggest British warships begins

07 Jul 2009

Glasgow, UK - Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal marked the start of construction on the first of two new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers for the UK's Armed Forces, by ceremonially cutting steel for the hull of The Queen Elizabeth.

The ship will be the largest ship to ever enter service with the Royal Navy and together with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft and the new Type 45 destroyers, the aircraft carriers will form the cornerstone of Britain's future ability to project military power worldwide.

Chief Executive of BVT Surface Fleet, Alan Johnston said: "The first steel cut for a ship marks the start of a vessel's life, and when she enters service, the Queen Elizabeth is expected to make a significant contribution to the UK's Armed Forces for at least 30 years.

"Both the Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, The Prince of Wales will provide the UK with four acres of sovereign territory, which can be manoeuvred all round the world to protect the UK's interests abroad. The priority of the BVT and the rest of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance is to deliver a step change in capability to our Armed Forces, and I have no doubt that we will do this in the form of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers."

Mike Pettigrew, Babcock Marine said: "First cut of steel is a tremendous milestone in the life of the project, we at Rosyth are preparing the ground for the arrival of the superblocks that will become the QEC and clearly this event brings into focus the whole programme"

Ed Lowe, Managing Director of Thales UK's naval business, said: "For all those in our design teams who have been working so hard in the transition of the design into build, today's steel cutting ceremony in Glasgow is a tangible sign of real progress and an important step towards delivery of the Royal Navy's most important programme."

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies MP: "The MOD is committed to ensuring the UK's Armed Forces are modern, versatile and well equipped for present and future operations. The versatility of the design together with the long service life of these ships will ensure that we will be able to deal with the uncertainties of the future for years to come and they will deliver the support to deployed UK forces around the globe.

"It is an honour to mark this historic moment with Her Royal Highness here in Govan. We also must not forget the ongoing work of the legions of people in industry in regions across the country who are all delivering vital elements of this truly national project."

About the Aircraft Carrier Alliance
The innovative Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a single integrated team formed from BVT Surface Fleet, Babcock, BAE Systems, Thales UK and the MOD (which acts as both partner and client.) It is responsible for delivering the Queen Elizabeth Class ships to time and cost.

Alliancing allows for the collaborative delivery of the aircraft carriers by bringing together all interested parties with a vested financial interest to make decisions to achieve what is best for the project, as well as providing the most effective way of managing risk and reward.

About the Queen Elizabeth Class
The contract to build the two new Aircraft Carriers for the Royal Navy - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, was signed on 3rd July 2008. The in-service dates announced at the time of the Main Gate, 2014 and 2016, have been deferred by 1 to 2 years following MOD's Equipment Examination.

The carriers will be the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed for the UK and represent a step change in Joint Capability. They will enable the delivery of increased strategic effect and influence around the world, at a time and place of the UK's choosing, and will be a key component of the improved expeditionary capabilities needed to confront the diverse range of threats in today's security environment.

Catherine Thurogood
Aircraft Carrier Alliance
Mobile: 07801 717 860

  • Princess Royal at BVT yard in July 2009