BRITAIN’S biggest warship is now also the tallest after the final mast has been added to HMS Queen Elizabeth.
From the tip of the newly-installed pole mast to the keel, the Royal Navy’s new carrier now stands at 73m – extending upwards past Tower Bridge and Nelson’s Column.
It means the warship is now too tall to pass beneath the two iconic Forth crossings, cloe to where she is being constructed at a dockyard in Rosyth.
So in order for the ship to be able to leave the dockyard, engineers have built in a hydraulic system to allow the mast to be lowered to a near horizontal position.
Petty Officer Engineering Technician (Weapon Engineering) Johno Johnson said: ‘The mast is home to antennae for communications systems which are a pivotal part of navigation and flight safety, so a solution had to be engineered to raise the mast once the ship has transited safely underneath.
‘What makes Queen Elizabeth’s pole mast different is the engineering solution to lowering the mast – it’s what lies beneath where things get really interesting.’
On its own, the pole mast is 19m.
The lower half is home to navigational lighting, while the upper part houses numerous radio and communications antennae.
The chance to raise and lower the mast will come in late 2016 when HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Rosyth to begin her sea trials.