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HMS Queen Elizabeth flight deck completed

Aircraft carrier is due to begin sea trials in 2017 and flight trials in 2018

By
PE
October 03, 2013

The Goliath crane lifts one of the flight deck sections into place

The flight deck of the Royal Navy’s future flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is now complete after two giant sections were fixed into place, in Rosyth, Scotland.

The two 500-tonne sponsons - sections protruding from the hull which give the aircraft carrier their unique shape - were carefully lifted and inched into place by a giant Goliath crane.

First stage of the sponson lift. Image by Aircraft Carrier Alliance
First stage of the sponson lift. Image by Aircraft Carrier Alliance


First stage of the sponson lift. Image by Aircraft Carrier Alliance

The Goliath crane lifts one of the flight deck sections into place
Last stage: The Goliath crane lifts one of the flight deck sections into place

The flight deck is now physically complete. It will be coated in a special paint to protect it from the rigours of the weather and blasts from the F35 Lightning II jets which will be landing and and taking off from it. 

A ski ramp, which will be used by the F35 fighter jets, will be installed next month.

CGI of the operational aircraft carrier in action
CGI of the operational aircraft carrier in action

The Queen Elizabeth-class project is currently at its peak with approximately 10,000 people involved in the building process and providing equipment and systems.

Once completed, the 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be based in Portsmouth. They will become the centrepiece of the UK’s military capability.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to begin sea trials in 2017, and flight trials in 2018.

HMS Queen Elizabeth facts and figures

  • Displacement: 65,000 tonnes
  • Length: 280m
  • Beam: 70m
  • Draught: 11m
  • Speed: 25+ knots
  • Complement: 682 (up to 1,600 with embarked air group)
  • Propulsion: 2 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and 4 x diesel generator sets producing a total of 110MWe 
  • Range: 8,000-10,000 nautical miles
  • Armament: Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems, 30mm guns and mini-guns to counter seaborne threats
  • Aircraft: Tailored air group of up to 40 aircraft: F35 Lightning II, Merlin and Chinook helicopters
  • Keel to masthead: 56m
  • Each of the two aircraft lifts can move two Joint Strike Fighters from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 seconds
  • QE Class aircraft carriers can take up to 40 aircraft - double the capacity of existing carriers
  • The ship's Long Range radar is the same size as a large mobile home
  • Anchors: 3.1m high, each weighing 13 tonnes
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