The naming of the first of class of the Royal Navy’s new generation aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth, Scotland, today saw whisky replace the traditionally used champagne to mark the start of a new era of United Kingdom carrier operations.
The Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, the HMS Prince of Wales, will provide the United Kingdom government with “significant strategic choice out to 2060” and the ability to influence 80% of the world’s population from a sovereign base in support of the country’s diverse diplomatic, security and economic interests around the world, the UK Ministry of Defence said.
The carriers are strategic maritime platforms with wide military and diplomatic utility and are the largest warship ever built in the United Kingdom.
There are now more than 55 000 tons of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the dock at Rosyth. The ship is structurally complete – the installation of the aft aircraft lift in May completed the assembly phase. The project is now in a highly advanced state; work continues on both carriers in six UK shipyards: Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne.
Work on the QE Class aircraft carriers has created/sustained up to 8 000 jobs at the Tier One shipyards in Glasgow, Rosyth, Portsmouth and Devon. Over 150 equipment sub-contracts, totalling some £1,65bn, have been placed by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to support the build of the QE Class.
Throughout the supply chain 3 000 people are employed, boosting local economies across the UK.
Today’s naming ceremony comes five years after the first metal was cut for the new carrier and 33 months after its first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth for assembly to start.
When complete the Queen Elizabeth will have a displacement of 65 000 tons and will operate F035 Lightning 11s and a number of different helicopter types ranging from combat through to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. She will have a permanent crew of 680 and capacity for 1 600 when fully operational.
Her life expectancy is 50 years.