The UK Royal Navy has received the first component of the highly mechanised weapons handling system (HMWHS) from Babcock for its Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are currently under construction.

The first component of HMWHS consists of a pair of hydraulically operated magazine lift doors, each measuring 12m wide by 3m high, each weighing 6,000kg.

The doors, which are designed to operate automatically as part of the HMWHS, will be integrated within the deep magazine complex, while the door insert is welded into the bulkhead of the ship.

HMWHS will provide mechanical handling facilities for moving palletised munitions around the deep magazine and weapon preparation areas as well as a series of weapons lifts to connect the magazines, hangar, weapon preparation area and flight deck.

The technique uses automated systems with all-electric control, adapted for safe transport and stowage of munitions in a warship environment.

The doors have undergone factory acceptance testing to check the hydraulic components, open / close actuator and locks, and seals.

The seals will undergo further water pressure testing after installation during harbour acceptance trials.

Each Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier will be equipped with a total of four pairs of magazine doors.

Deep magazine doors are scheduled to be delivered in January, February and April 2010.