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HMS Queen Elizabeth Photographed in Build

Photographers capture sheer size of HMS Queen Elizabeth


Photographers in Rosyth have captured the scale of the Navy’s future flagship with stunning images of work on HMS Queen Elizabeth. The 65,000-tonne carrier, due to be launched next year, is nearing completion – outwardly at least – in a huge dry dock in Rosyth on the Forth.

The ship is awesome
Capt Simon Petitt

Sparks fly as a welder toils in Dock No.1 at Rosyth on the bow section of the Royal Navy’s future aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Another day, another couple of images which hint at the sheer scale of the biggest warship ever built in Britain.

And this particular photograph truly gives you an idea of the very bulbous nature of the 65,000-tonne warships bulbous bow.

At 400 tonnes, the bow weighs the equivalent of nearly 40 double-decker buses and is similar in size to the front of a submarine (the bulbous section is about 100ft long, 35ft wide and more than 30ft tall).

The bow section was built by a 300-strong team at the Babcock yard in Appledore in North Devon and moved by barge up to Scotland.

As well as photographing the bow, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance photographer climbed over 200ft into the cab of Goliath, the gigantic crane which dominates the Rosyth skyline – and is used to move sections of the carrier into place.

Photographers capture sheer size of HMS Queen Elizabeth

The resulting panorama of the Queen Elizabeth in build shows her from bow (on the left) to stern (on the right).

About to lifted into the dock imminently are ‘Tango’ and ‘Uniform’ segments – sections of all warships are labelled from A-Z (depending on the length) using the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…) – which will complete the length of Queen Elizabeth at the waterline.

Brackets for the shafts – which drive the propellers – are also in the process of being put into the dock.

The blue and white containers on the flight deck support the engineers, technicians and shipwrights working on the construction project.

Those running athwartships – from port to starboard beam – cover the joins between the blocks and ensure the weather is kept at bay as the blocks are welded together.

“The ship is awesome – it surprises everyone who works on board. Outside, she sheer size of her is difficult to comprehend, but inside it really hits you,” said Capt Simon Petitt, Queen Elizabeth’s Senior Naval Officer, in charge of a 17-strong ship’s company at present.

There will be 3,500 compartments in the completed carrier – some, such as the bakery, and most of the accommodation cabins are finished (although there’s no power to them), others are still in various stages of completion.

The next milestone in the QE project will be to move her forward island – containing the bridge, captain’s day quarters and other compartments – from Portsmouth to Rosyth. Weather permitting, that’s due to take place next week.

See March’s edition of Navy News for a special feature on the carrier programme and what it means for the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Naval Base and the sailors involved.

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