IN A painstaking six-hour operation, engineers manoeuvered a 2,500 tonne section of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier in to position at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The 60-foot high structure needed 184 wheels and a lot of patience to move it just 30-foot across BAE Systems’ shipbuilding hall yesterday.
The giant ring of steel was lifted 20 inches from the floor and slotted in next to a neighbouring section as HMS Queen Elizabeth’s hull takes shape.
Workers are building Lower Block 02, which is around a third of the carrier’s mid-ship.
It has been built in five huge rings which are being moved to be welded together and fitted out.
The operation to move the first ring in to place marks another milestone in the construction of the new carriers to be based in Portsmouth from 2020.
Paul Bowshere, who is leading BAE’s carrier project in Portsmouth, said: ‘I’m proud of the team’s result and look forward to getting the second ring up on Wednesday.’
Portsmouth workers are also currently building the stern section – Lower Block 05 – and will soon start on two ‘island’ superstructures to go on the flight deck from where the ship will be controlled.
Lower Blocks 02 and 05 will be completed in July and shipped on a barge up to Rosyth, Scotland.
When they are completed, the ships will be almost twice the height of Lower Block 05 – pictured right.
‘Every day I am amazed about the sheer scale of what we are doing,’ said Mr Bowshere.