The key Forward Island for the UK Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier, Upper Block 07, has set sail from Bae Systems’ Portsmouth shipyard to its Rosyth facility for final assembly and integration phase.
As a crucial component of the carrier, Upper Block 07 will include the main bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.
BAE has tested the block to ensure it is weather-proof to undertake the first sea voyage, while clearing the UK Ministry of Defence audit to approve all compartments of the block.
The block will be lifted onto the carrier in March, followed by installation of the long-range radar on top of the Forward Island.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will also feature the Aft Island, which will serve the role of an airport control tower to manage aircraft movements.
Both the Forward and Aft islands will help increase the survivability of the ship, as they can carry out each other’s role during an emergency.
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 and are expected to enter service in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
With an operational range of 10,000nm, the two ships will have the capacity to carry 40 aircraft with a total runway area of 13,000m² and can accommodate a crew of 1,200, including an aircrew of 600.
Armed with Phalanx CIWS, 30mm guns and miniguns, the Queen Elizabeth-class ships will be integrated with new-generation maritime medium-range radars (MRR) to replace the existing type 996 surveillance and target indication systems.
Featuring a deck to support simultaneous launch and recovery operations, the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will be powered by two Rolls-Royce Marine 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternators providing more than 70MW, in addition to four diesel engines providing approximately 40MW.
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.
Image: HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Forward Island readies to set sail for its Rosyth facility destination. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.