UK nearing completion of HMNB Portsmouth preparations for new carrier

5 September 2019 (Last Updated September 5th, 2019 12:24)

The UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is giving final touches to HMNB Portsmouth as part of efforts to prepare the naval base for the scheduled arrival of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.

UK nearing completion of HMNB Portsmouth preparations for new carrier
One of the new Fendered Spacer Units in position at HMNB Portsmouth. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright 2019.

The UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is giving final touches to HMNB Portsmouth as part of efforts to prepare the naval base for the scheduled arrival of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.

DIO is working along with Volker Stevin on the £30m project to deliver crucial infrastructure at the Portsmouth base.

The project involves the preparation of the second operational berth at the base to accommodate the HMS Prince of Wales Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.

The 65,000t carrier is the second of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. It is expected to arrive at its home base of Portsmouth by the end of the year.

The closing stages of the project saw the installation of two fendered spacer units (FSU) similar to those previously installed on the Princess Royal Jetty to support the navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier.

DIO project manager Colin Efford said: “It’s fantastic to see the finishing touches being put to this important project which has made improvements to the existing Victory and Sheer jetties, so they can support the 65,000t new carrier.

“This has been a challenging but rewarding project and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver infrastructure for such a crucial naval asset. We are proud to be playing our part to support future naval capability.”

Local company ML (UK) was contracted to build the FSUs, which measure 17.6m by 18.7m.

FSU is a unit that floats between the ship and the jetty and moves up and down with the tide. The structures are designed to ensure the carrier’s overhanging flight deck does not collide with the jetty.

The two FSUs arrived at the naval base last month from ML (UK) yard and have been positioned at Victory Jetty.

The organisation also conducted infrastructure enhancements at Victory Jetty to extend its life by more than 50 years.

New infrastructure includes a mooring dolphin and a Galvanic Cathodic Protection system. A new high-voltage electrical system has also been installed at the jetty.