NEW Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales can now berth side-by-side in Portsmouth thanks to a £30m upgrade at the city’s naval base.
The completion of Victory Jetty means both ships now have their own second layer of jetty security, off-grid power sources and new walkways.
A host of new infrastructure including relocated vehicle bridges and quick-release mooring pulleys have also been unveiled in the scheme.
The jetty was officially opened on October 11 by Penny Connell – the wife of the assistant chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Martin Connell.
The couple was given a tour of the new jetty and the substation that will provide the carriers with their dedicated power.
It came after work on Victory Jetty was previously halted when conservation chiefs told the Royal Navy the noise could disrupt mating eels.
Portsmouth Naval Base commander, Commodore Jeremy Bailey, said: ‘This represents an historic moment for Portsmouth Naval Base as we prepare for the arrival of HMS Prince of Wales.
‘Her appearance will change the skyline of the naval base for the next 50 years as well as transform the way defence operates across the globe.
‘It is therefore only right that we meet that modernisation of our fleet with the modernisation of our supporting infrastructure and both Victory Jetty and Princess Royal Jetty now absolutely meet that demand.’
HMS Prince of Wales is currently on contractor sea trials and is due to arrive at the naval base before the end of the year.
Her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is carrying out her second phase of flying trials with F-35 Lightning jets off the east coast of the USA.
She left Portsmouth in August for that deployment, dubbed Westlant 19, from her jetty, Sheer, and is due to return home by Christmas.
Colin Efford, Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s Queen Elizabeth-Class project manager, said: ‘It’s been a great project to work on and everyone pulling together to share their expertise and best practice from the Princess Royal Jetty project has helped us complete ahead of programme and within budget.’
For all the latest news on HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth, visit our website's dedicated defence section.