Arrival of new carriers proof Britain is stepping up

Les Wills on the new Jetty with Capt Iain Greenlees, left, and WO Dave Pottle

Portsmouth Naval Base’s revamp stun veteran sailor Les, 90

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THE naval base in Portsmouth ‘is ready’ for the arrival of Britain’s biggest ever warship, vowed Michael Fallon.

The defence secretary spoke during a tour of new facilities being built to support the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which include power facilities, a reinforced jetty, and an area equivalent to more than 200 football pitches having been dredged in the harbour – a huge project costing £120m.

Commodore Jeremy Rigby and Sir Michael Fallon opening the new carrier support building 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161596-3692)

Commodore Jeremy Rigby and Sir Michael Fallon opening the new carrier support building Picture: Sarah Standing (161596-3692)

Mr Fallon said: ‘The over £100m 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.’

Mr Fallon also opened Portsmouth’s new Ark Royal facility and met experts responsible for clearing historic ordnance uncovered by dredging work.

The Ark Royal facility will provide the ship’s company with top of the range facilities before they embark onto the ship for training and operations.

Mike Howarth, managing director at BAE Systems in Portsmouth, who oversees the operations at the naval base, said: ‘This is a massive statement of the UK’s capability. It’s going to be a massive day for Portsmouth.

‘These ships will be in service for 50 years, creating sustained employment, and we will have the skills coming from the Solent area to support them.’

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