The onboard Diesel Generators for Britain’s new 65,000 tonne supercarrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, were fired up for the first, marking a significant stage in the construction of Britain’s biggest warship.
Firing up the Diesel Generators for the first time in Rosyth was Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, who took part in a short ceremony and was accompanied by Rear Admiral Henry Parker representing the Ministry of Defence on the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), and Sir Peter Gershon, the Independent Chairman of the ACA.
Mr Dunne said: “It is a real pleasure to be back in Scotland, home of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, to witness the impressive progress that is being made on our new aircraft carriers.
“Powering up the diesel generator today marks an important milestone on the journey to bring these highly versatile ships into service with our Armed Forces. They will be the largest, most capable and effective surface warships ever constructed in the UK. The build programme is supporting thousands of jobs across the country, with over 4,000 of those jobs at Rosyth and the Clyde.”
The 65,000 tonne flagship for the Royal Navy has undergone months of preparation work by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) to start the first of her four Wärtsilä diesel engines, which are directly coupled to the General Electric (GE) generators. Together, each power unit weighs approximately 200 tonnes – the weight of about 200 family-sized cars.
Jon Pearson, HMS Queen Elizabeth Delivery Director, commented: “We’re delighted to have the Minister of State for Defence Procurement in Rosyth today to start our diesel generators for the first time. This is a huge milestone on the road to delivery and is a testament to the hard work and determination of the delivery and commissioning teams working here in Rosyth.
“The amount of pipework, electrical connections and systems that have had to be installed, tested and finally commissioned is staggering. I’m incredibly proud of everyone working on HMS Queen Elizabeth. She is now well on the way to becoming an operational warship that will be the flagship of the Royal Navy for the next 50 years.”
The diesel generator sets will be the main cruising engines for the ship, but when higher speed is required, two MT30 Gas Turbine Alternators will also be used. Together they will produce 109MW of power, enough to power 78,000 homes.
Jim Bennett, Power & Propulsion Director for the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: “There is something particularly special about the starting of the first diesel engine on any vessel. The gentle vibration, reassuring hum and first smoke appearing from the funnel, creates a heartbeat and breathes life into a new ship. This is a great moment for the project and the Royal Navy.”
The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Whales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
The Queen Elizabeth Class promises to be the centerpiece of Britain’s defense capability for the 21st century. Each aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four-acre military operating base, which can travel up to 500 miles per day to be deployed anywhere around the world. Operating the Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II jets and a number of types of helicopter, the QE Class will be versatile enough to be used across the full spectrum of military activity from warfighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
The Power and Propulsion Sub Alliance comprises of Thales UK, Rolls Royce, General Electric and L3 Communications. Together, the four companies are responsible for the design, procurement, manufacture, integration, test and delivery of all the equipment that will ultimately drive the ship, including some of the largest and most powerful devices used on the ships such as the diesel generators, gas turbine engines, propellers and the ship’s stabilisers.