Babcock has completed the manufacture of the first blocks of the UK Royal Navy's first Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier at its Appledore dockyard and will ship the components to its Rosyth dockyard this month for assembly and integration.
The blocks are the first two sub-blocks of the lower block one (LB01), which comprises the forward sections from the keel up to the flight deck.
LB01 consists of six sub-blocks (VB001-006), ranging in weight from around 112-339t.
The first two sub-blocks include the bulbous bow (VB001) and the bow section that sits above the second sub-block (VB002) comprising decks seven to five below the hangar deck.
The bulbous bow is the projecting 'bulb' at the bow of the ship, which alters the bow wave generation and water flow around the hull to reduce drag and increase the carrier's speed, fuel efficiency and stability.
VB001 is 30.3m long, 10.8m wide and 9.6m high, and weighs around 293t, while the second sub-block is 21.6m long, 17.4m wide and 6.2m high, and uses 112t of steel.
Both blocks will be joined together at Rosyth, including integration of electrical cabling, mechanical pipe systems, ventilation ducts and furniture.
The remaining sub-blocks (VB003-006) currently under construction at Appledore will be shipped to Rosyth in early 2011.
The 280m-long and 74m-wide HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will have a displacement capacity of 65,000t.