WITH every passing day HMS Queen Elizabeth looks more like a completed warship.
Now the construction of the Royal Navy’s first new aircraft carrier has taken a huge leap forward after she has been painted battleship grey for the first time.
It comes barely a week before the ship, which will be based in Portsmouth, is due to be named by the Queen herself at a ceremony in Rosyth.
Workers at the dockyard, where the carrier is being put together, are adding some finishing touches ahead of the big day.
Mick Ord, the managing director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: ‘She looks an incredible sight now, but will look even more impressive when she sails past the Round Tower and into Portsmouth for the first time where I am sure she will receive a very warm welcome.
‘The final preparations are underway for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s naming ceremony next week, which is a significant milestone in the programme and will involve celebrations across the UK.
‘In the coming weeks, teams from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance will work together to float her out of the dock for the first time before her systems are steadily brought to life.’
The Queen is due to officially name the ship next Friday at a grand ceremony in Rosyth.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is being assembled there after being constructed in large blocks, some of which were built in Portsmouth.
Giant sections of the aircraft carrier were floated out of the city and towed up to Scotland over a couple of years to be joined with other parts built at separate yards.
Once the dry dock containing HMS Queen Elizabeth is flooded in July, she will be moved out to a jetty.
Then will begin the process of setting up her internal systems.
It is delicate work – some parts of the ship have laid dormant for years as the hull is pieced together.
After that, her staff will begin to move on board, and she will head off for sea trials in August 2016.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is then due to arrive in Portsmouth, her home port, in 2017. Her structure is now complete, with the addition of her two islands, radar, mast and flight deck lifts.
Meanwhile, shipyard workers in Portsmouth are now finishing off several blocks for the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, before their jobs are due to be cut towards the end of this year.
The next section to leave will be floated out of Portsmouth in August.