The construction of the Royal Navy’s two future Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers has taken a step forward following the announcement of equipment sub-contracts worth £80m.

The sub-contracts cover: £57m for insulation systems by Ticon Ltd UK, £25m for communication systems by Thales UK and £1m for water treatment by the Ormandy Group.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said that today’s contract would add to the momentum of the programme.

“The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are vitally important to our future defence capabilities, allowing us to project air power at a time and place of our choosing,” Davies said.

Head of Capital Ships within the MoD’s defence equipment and support department, Tony Graham said that the UK’s future aircraft carriers are already off the drawing board and becoming a physical reality.

“The Aircraft Carrier Alliance has now placed sub-contracts for almost 40% of the total value of the materials and equipments required to build both ships, and we are pressing ahead into full scale production in the shipyards,” Graham said.

Thales UK will cover both onboard and fleet-wide communications. Onboard it will ensure that that crew have access to information and are in communication with their colleagues across the ship at all times. The system will use internet networks to transmit data and voice in the same way as modern businesses and offices communicate.

Fleet-wide (external to the ship) includes a high-frequency (HF) system to provide long-range communications between the ship, other vessels and land bases.

The Bradford based Ormandy Group will deliver equipment for treatment and supply of hot and cold fresh water to the accommodation spaces within the ships.

Last month Her Majesty the Queen gave her formal approval for the new class of aircraft carrier to be known as the ‘Queen Elizabeth Class’. The giant hull sections that will make up the ships have been in construction since December of last year.

By Daniel Garrun.