Construction of light towers for UK Navy’s Queen Class aircraft carriers nears completion

21 August 2016 (Last Updated August 21st, 2016 18:30)

Construction work on the new navigation light towers in Portsmouth harbour for the UK Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers is set to be completed soon.

Construction work on the new navigation light towers in Portsmouth harbour for the UK Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers is set to be completed soon.

Currently, the top sections of the 14 steel structures are being readied for installation onto the pile foundations.

Each of the structures weighs around 22t and is being lifted using a 350t crane barge.

"The installation of the navigational aids is another key milestone on this exciting project."

The towers will rise 30m from the seabed and will be used as a platform for the lights that will guide the aircraft carriers into the harbour.

Powered by a combination of solar panels and batteries, the lights will be lit only when carriers are either approaching or leaving their berths in Portsmouth.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded a £34m contract to VolkerStevin to construct and install the navigation light towers to support the new carriers.

VolkerStevin project manager Gerrit Smit said: “The installation of the navigational aids is another key milestone on this exciting project.

“The works are associated with challenges such as working in a busy harbour environment.

“Due to close collaboration with the Queens Harbour Master, the ferry operators and other stakeholders, we are ensuring safe passage as well as a safe delivery of the construction works.”

VolkerStevin was also given the responsibility of refurbishing the middle slip jetty to accommodate the vessel, and power the carriers with high-voltage electrical supply.

DIO also contracted Boskalis Westminster to deepen and widen the harbour, to accommodate the large carriers.

The QEC aircraft carriers are the biggest and most powerful naval assets ever built for the Royal Navy, and are being constructed in alliance with Babcock, Thales, BAE Systems, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

The carriers will be deployed for a range of operations, including engaging in warfare, as well as in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.


Image: A navigational tower on site. Photo: courtesy of VolkerWessels UK.