IT WILL be the most iconic part of Portsmouth’s massive new aircraft carrier.
And now the first Royal Navy officer in charge of HMS Queen Elizabeth has set foot on the ship’s bridge for the first time at the city’s shipyard.
The bridge, which is still being put together, is surrounded by construction materials as one of the most important sections of the gigantic ship takes shape.
Captain Simon Petitt is the navy’s man in charge throughout the construction period.
He said: ‘It is hugely exciting to be able to stand on the bridge of HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.
‘It really brings home the amazing ship that is being gradually revealed to my team in Rosyth.
‘This forward island will be positioned on the ship early this year and then everyone will be able to identify her as an aircraft carrier.
‘For now, however, it is wonderful to be able to stand where captains for the next 50 years will stand and steer the ship into operations that will protect our interests around the globe.’
With all sections of the ship’s hull now complete, all attention is now on the two islands.
One will control the ship and the other will control the flying operations.
As previously reported in The News, the forward section is being completed in Portsmouth while the aft section is being built in Scotstoun.
Both pieces will be shipped up to Rosyth where the carrier is being put together.
The Portsmouth section, which is known as Upper Block 07, contains the main ship’s bridge, the observation bridge, the commanding officer’s day cabin, and navigator’s accommodation.
It has a total of 100 compartments across six decks and weighs 850 tonnes.
It will be loaded onto a barge in February before embarking on a five-day journey up to Scotland.
Paul Bowsher, the Queen Elizabeth-class project leader for BAE Systems in Portsmouth, said: ‘The load out of Upper Block 07 will be a really proud moment for our team in Portsmouth as this is an iconic section of the Queen Elizabeth carrier.
‘We are looking forward to Upper Block 07 coming back into Portsmouth as part of the completed ship.’
The Royal Navy says the ship is due to be handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 2014, with sea trials starting in 2017.
Production of the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has already begun at shipyards in Portsmouth and Govan.