The Royal Navy has started construction of the HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of the fleet’s new Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carriers – at BVT Surface Fleet’s shipyard in Govan, Scotland.

The aircraft carriers, along with the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and new Type 45 destroyers, will form a significant part of Britain’s future ability to jointly project airpower worldwide from land or sea.

The Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said that the long service life of these ships will help the UK deal with the uncertainties of naval warfare in the future and will support deployed forces across the globe.

The three major lower blocks of the ship will be built at the Portsmouth and Rosyth dockyards in the UK and the rest will be done at the Appledore shipyards in Devon.

The fabricated blocks will be transported to the Rosyth dockyard where they will be joined together to form the hull of the ship.

The manufacturing contract for the ships was signed in July 2008 with £700m-worth of sub-contracts placed for the equipment and furnishings for weapons systems and ship interiors.