Assembly of new carrier begins

Defence Minister Peter Luff on Europe's biggest crane - Goliath, as it prepares to lift the first sections of the new royal Navy aircraft carriers into place.  Photo:  Mark Owens/MOD Crown Copyright/PA

Defence Minister Peter Luff on Europe's biggest crane - Goliath, as it prepares to lift the first sections of the new royal Navy aircraft carriers into place. Photo: Mark Owens/MOD Crown Copyright/PA

Picture: Andrew Parsons

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EUROPE’S biggest crane swung into action to begin the final stages of building the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.

The first parts of HMS Queen Elizabeth are being put in place using a huge 223-ft tall crane, named Goliath, at Rosyth dockyard, Scotland.

It is a milestone moment in the £6bn project which has been called the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle.

Large sections of the two 65,000-tonne warships are being built across six sites in the UK, including Portsmouth Naval Base shipbuilders.

They are then shipped up to Rosyth to be put together using the Goliath crane.

Defence equipment minister Peter Luff was in Rosyth as work began to assemble the first sections of the Queen Elizabeth.

He said: ‘It’s a huge privilege to witness what can only be described as history in the making.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to be based in Portsmouth from 2016. Steel work has started on her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which is due be in Portsmouth in 2018. Both ships are scheduled to enter service in 2020.

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