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Gigantic piece of HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives to join the rest of the ship

Huge block of HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives at Rosyth

12/11/2012

The largest section of future carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived at Rosyth and is preparing to join the rest of the ship. The gigantic aft segment was carried 1,200 miles from the Clyde to the Forth via the Strait of Dover by a special ocean-going barge.

This marks a huge milestone for the programme to deliver the nation’s flagships
Ian Booth

LAST week we brought you a giant section of HMS Queen Elizabeth obscuring iconic Dumbarton Rock…

…This week we bring you that same giant section of HMS Queen Elizabeth passing beneath Britain’s most famous railway crossing, the Forth Bridge.

Shortly before 11am on November 11 Lower Block 04 was carried on a large ocean-going barge under the Forth road and rail bridges, thus safely completing a 1200-mile journey from the Clyde.

The section – which weighs 11,300 tonnes and is the final piece of the hull to be finished – was due to travel around the top of Scotland, but the autumn weather meant instead rounding Land’s End and passing up the Channel to Fife.

Some of the 1,000-plus people involved in the carrier project at Rosyth – one of six yards around in the UK committed to the Queen Elizabeth-class project – are now preparing to remove the sea fastenings which have fixed the block to the barge so it can join the rest of the ship.

This marks a huge milestone for the programme to deliver the nation’s flagships,” said Ian Booth, director of the carrier project which is the biggest engineering project currently under way in the UK.

Now it is at Rosyth that the hard work continues as we begin the massive task of joining it to the sections of Queen Elizabeth already in place.”

All sections of the hull are now built, but not all are at Rosyth – and not all have yet been attached to the carrier, which is roughly 50 per cent complete.

The rear half of No.1 dock at the yard, which was enlarged especially to accommodate Queen Elizabeth and her sister, will be flooded allowing Lower Block 04 to be floated in. Once in and attached, the water will be drained and the complex task of getting the equipment in the section to ‘talk’ to the rest of the systems in Queen Elizabeth.

The block is 86 metres (282ft) long, 40 metres (131ft) wide and 23 metres (75ft) high and contains the carrier’s two main engine rooms, the sick bay and quarters for some of the 1,500 sailors and air group personnel who will serve in her later this decade.

With the hull sections complete, focus in 2013 will be on the two islands – one for commanding the ship, the other for Flyco (flying control) – which will be shipped up to Rosyth from Scotstoun and Portsmouth.

Queen Elizabeth is due to be launched (in reality she’ll be floated out of her dock) in 2014; sea trials will begin in 2017, with the first F35 Joint Strike Fighters conducting trials on her flight deck the following year.

Pictures: Aircraft Carrier Alliance

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