Babcock has successfully integrated the key Forward Island, Upper Block 07, for the UK Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier at its Rosyth shipyard in Scotland, marking a key milestone in the carrier’s assembly programme.
The BAE Systems-built Upper Block 07 is a crucial component of the carrier and includes the main bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.
The 22m-high 13m-wide and 27m-long vessel will now be fitted with the long-range radar (LLR) on top, followed by welding the island to the superstructure and installation of mechanical and electrical systems.
HMS Queen Elizabeth also features the Aft Island, which will be lifted into position on the carrier by the end of July 2013 and is designed as an airport control tower to manage aircraft movements.
The ship’s Forward and Aft island sections will provide independent control of navigation and air traffic control operations for the Royal Navy.
The two 280m-long and 74m-wide aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales, have a full-load displacement capacity of 65,000t.
UK defence secretary Philip Hammond said: "The Queen Elizabeth-class of carriers will be in service for up to 50 years, providing the Royal Navy with highly versatile and potent capability that will enable the UK to project its power and carry out a wide range of tasks around the world."
The Royal Navy will receive its F-35 Lightning II aircraft in 2016, prior to HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sea trials, while the first aircraft flight trials off the flight deck will start in 2018, Hammond added.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to undergo sea trials in 2014 following completion of its construction phase at the end of 2013.
Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a joint venture between Babcock Thales, BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), is the prime contractor for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class programme.