Defence secretary Gavin Williamson praises Havant tech firm Wärtsilä for its role in building Royal Navy ships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales

A TECH firm which helped in the construction of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers has been praised by the defence secretary for its ‘vital contribution’.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 6:57 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 7:02 pm
HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned to Rosyth, where she will be reunited with HMS Prince of Wales her sister ship, for planned maintenance work.

Gavin Williamson has lavished praise upon workers from Havant-based manufacturer Wärtsilä during a trip to its Marples Way HQ.

The company is one of the nation’s leading producers of seals and bearings, which are now used in the diesel generators that power both of the 65,000-tonne warships.

Both of the £3.1bn behemoths use four of the super-charged engines, which weigh 200 tonnes each – about as heavy as two medium-sized passenger jets.

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Mr Williamson said the role that Wärtsilä had was critical in ensuring the Queen Elizabeth-class supercarriers had enough power to plough through the waves.

The defence secretary said: ‘The aircraft carrier project is a powerful example of Britain’s world-class engineering and manufacturing industry and is a true statement of our national power.

‘However, their construction would not have been possible without the vital contribution and dedication of workers and suppliers from Havant.

‘The effort and dedication shown at businesses such as Wärtsilä will ensure our country can deliver on our determination to keep fighting alongside our allies in every corner of the globe.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently up in Rosyth, Scotland, where she is expected to undergo a lengthy period of maintenance on her hull.

Meanwhile, work is nearing completion on her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which is due to make her maiden trip to Portsmouth in autumn.

A spokesman from Wärtsilä said: ‘We were delighted to welcome the defence secretary to our Havant factory, and we are proud of the part we have played in delivering Britain’s carrier project and our wider work with the Ministry of Defence.’

Havant has a proud history of supporting the carrier project, with Lockheed Martin building the new F35B stealth jets which will one day take off from the carriers’ enormous flight deck, and Long and Marshall being involved in producing parts for the fighter jet runway.