THE DEFENCE Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said that a £120m investment into Portsmouth Naval Base means it will be able to house Britain’s largest ever warship.
Mr Fallon was given a tour of the new facilities being purposely built to support HMS Queen Elizabeth this afternoon, the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers. It will included power facilities, a reinforced jetty, and will cover an area equivalent to over 200 football pitches.
To prepare the harbour and dockyard infrastructure for the 65,000 tonne carriers, 276 metres of jetty has been reinforced with over 3,300 tonnes of new steel work. New navigation lights have been installed in the harbour and Solent, with huge new fenders and gangways delivered to accommodate the giant ships.
Mr Fallon said: ‘Britain’s new aircraft carriers are the biggest and most powerful warships ever built for our Royal Navy.
‘The over £100 million being invested in Portsmouth Naval Base will ensure that it is a fitting and state-of-the-art home for our new warships from spring next year.
‘The Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will lead our powerful and growing Royal Navy and reflect that, in a dangerous world, Britain is stepping up.’
The Defence Secretary also opened Portsmouth’s brand new Ark Royal facility and met the personnel responsible for clearing historic ordnance uncovered by dredging work.
The Ark Royal Facility will provide the ships company with top of the range facilities before they embark onto the ship for training and operations.
Commodore Jeremy Rigby, commander of HMNB Portsmouth, said: ’With the opening of Ark Royal building today, we have reached another important milestone in the preparations to get Portsmouth Naval Base ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth.
‘I was delighted to be able to show the Defence Secretary how the last pieces of the complex jigsaw of getting the Naval Base ready for the new era, are falling into place.’
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to arrive at her new home in Portsmouth in late spring 2017.