SPOTD: HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Mega Blocks Unite at BAE Systems

Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier shipyard BAE Systems megablock construction shipbuilding
Image: BAE Systems
This Ship Photo of the Day from BAE Systems’s Govan Shipyard in Glasgow shows one of two massive hull sections of the HMS Queen Elizabeth being driven across the shipyard to be fitted together.  The Queen Elizabeth is the first of two new aircraft carriers being built by BAE Systems for the UK Royal Navy.

Using a fleet of 132 remote controlled transporters, this huge section, weighing over 4,000 tonnes, was carefully maneuvered 100 meters across specially reinforced concrete. In a two hour move, the section was carefully lined up with the rest of the block, which will collectively form the aft section of the hull. Workers will now conduct the painstaking process of aligning the units and closing the five centimetre gap over the next week, in preparation for welding the block together.

Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class Project Director at BAE Systems, said: “Bringing together Lower Block 04 marks the beginning of an exciting stage in the block’s life. Once the link up is complete, the team will shift their focus back to the outfitting of the block, including installing 12,000 pipes and 100,000 kilometres of cables, ahead of her departure to Rosyth later this year.”

Housing the two main engine rooms, a medical area and accommodation, LB04 will weigh over 11,000 tonnes on completion, standing over 23 metres tall, 86 metres long and 40 metres wide. The block, which will be transported to Rosyth in the Autumn, will be the last hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth to arrive and will join the other units and sections of the ship in dry dock where she is being assembled.

hms queen elizabeth BAE Systems govan shipyard shipbuilding
Image: BAE Systems

At Govan, work also continues on the mid section of the second ship, HMS Prince of Wales. Since the first steel was cut on this section in May last year, over 80 units of LB03 are currently in production. Meanwhile, workers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth are gearing up for the transit of Lower Block 05 and Lower Block 02 of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Rosyth at the end of April and May respectively.

The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence. BAE Systems has an overarching role in managing the QE Class programme, as well as playing a central role in the design and build of the ships.

The QE Class will be the centre piece of Britain’s military capability. Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.