HMS Queen Elizabeth’s forward island nears completion

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FINISHING touches are being put on the forward island of Portsmouth’s future aircraft carrier ahead of its journey to Scotland.

It marks the final piece of work on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to be done in Portsmouth.

NEARING COMPETION The forward island section of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. Picture: Paul Jacobs

NEARING COMPETION The forward island section of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. Picture: Paul Jacobs

The barge is expected to sail for Scotland next week.

Malcolm Miller, 52, from Baffins in Portsmouth, is an electrical area manager for the ship’s construction in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘This is by far the biggest project I have ever worked on in my life.

‘Back in my apprenticeship days I worked on HMS Hermes and that was nothing like this.

‘Working on the project here we get to see pictures of the finished ship and that gives us some idea of her size.

‘But because she is being pieced together in Scotland, it won’t be until she comes into Portsmouth for the first time that we will really see her size.’

The forward island contains the ship’s bridge and observation deck.

The bridge comes with floor-to-ceiling windows which are 4cm thick and can withstand the impact of a rotor blade.

Far from being an empty shell, the inside of the island is around 80 per cent complete.

There are 42,000m of cables already fitted inside, along with many fittings and fixtures.

The aft island of the ship, which deals with the flying operations, is being built in Scotstoun.

Paul Bowsher, the carrier project manager for BAE Systems in Portsmouth, said: ‘This is now the largest engineering construction project in the UK and it’s an absolute privilege to be working on it.

‘It’s very rewarding and an amazing experience.

‘The forward island is an iconic piece.

‘I’m extremely proud of the team and all the work that has gone into it.’

While work on HMS Queen Elizabeth has come to an end, shipbuilders at the BAE Systems yard are now starting work on the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.