The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are the largest, most powerful surface ships Britain has ever built.
The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers are a return to the halcyon days of flying aircraft at sea – huge flight decks, catapults to propel jets off the deck, arrestor wires to catch them when they land.
The carriers have undergone a lengthy gestation period (more than a decade) and numerous design changes before the vessels were ordered in 2008 to accommodate the jump jet version of the F35 Lightning II.
Meanwhile work on the ships continues apace across the land. More than 90 companies are providing parts and equipment for the ships from Peterhead in north-east Scotland to the shores of north and south Devon.
In all upwards of 10,000 people will be involved in the carrier project, 7,000 of them in the six shipyards producing giant segments of the two ships: Babcock at Rosyth and Torridge, A&P in Newcastle and BAE Systems in Portsmouth and on the Clyde.
All those segments will eventually arrive in Rosyth where the carrier ‘jigsaw’ is being put together in a specially-expanded dry dock before the completed carriers are ‘floated out’ – rather than launched.
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