David Cameron today hailed the £6bn project to build the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers as a ‘UK success story’.
During a visit to Rosyth dockyard in Scotland this morning where the first ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is being assembled, the Prime Minister said: ‘I think this is the success story that the whole of the United Kingdom can take great pride in.
‘Just as the Olympics showed what we can do when we come together, you’re showing it right here in Rosyth with this incredible feat of engineering.’
HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be based in Portsmouth later this decade. The 65,000-tonne warships - the navy’s largest ever vessels - are being built across six UK shipyards, including Portsmouth, before being put together in Rosyth. Work on the second ship began in Portsmouth earlier this year.
Speaking to workers, Mr Cameron said: ‘This has been and still is an immense task and, as soon as you have completed this aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales will follow, and I am very proud to be standing here and to say thank you to you.
‘As was said at the Olympics, we want to make sure ‘’Made in the United Kingdom’’ is a badge we can be really proud of and I believe that, with these aircraft carriers, you here in Rosyth are making it is absolutely clear that it is something we can all be really proud of.’
The comments came as a 11,000-tonne hull section of the vessel is being prepared for a 600-mile journey from Govan Shipyard in Glasgow to Rosyth. The aft section is being loaded on to a barge today and will take five days to travel round the coastline to the Fife dockyard next month.
The vessels are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
When they are finished, the ships will be 920ft long, 230ft wide and 184ft high from keel to masthead - 13ft taller than Niagara Falls.