HMS Queen Elizabeth takes shape as island lifted into place

The fragment from the Union Jack believed to have flown on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Credit: Sotheby's

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WITH her forward island now lifted into place, HMS Queen Elizabeth is finally starting to look like a completed warship.

Construction of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier has taken a huge step forward as the ship’s navigation bridge has taken its place on the giant ship.

IMPRESSIVE The forward island is put in place

IMPRESSIVE The forward island is put in place

Defence secretary Philip Hammond visited the shipyard where she is being pieced together in Rosyth, Scotland, yesterday to see the island being lifted into place.

The 700-tonne section was built in Portsmouth and transported up to Rosyth earlier this year. The completed ship will also be based in Portsmouth.

Paul Bowsher is the Queen Elizabeth-class project leader for BAE Systems in Portsmouth. He said: ‘This is a fantastic day. While it might not have been the biggest piece of the ship they’ll have put into position, it’s certainly one of the most impressive.

‘We’ve all seen the mock-ups and now you can see that iconic silhouette.’

The project is run by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between defence firms BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.

When construction work on the first carrier is completed, the blocks of HMS Prince of Wales, some of which are currently being built by BAE Systems in Portsmouth, will begin to be assembled in the space she vacates.

Ian Booth, the programme director at the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: ‘The fitting of the first island means the front section of the ship is structurally complete and HMS Queen Elizabeth is now unmistakable as an aircraft carrier.

‘This is another huge milestone for the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and another reason to take pride in this historic programme.’

Several other blocks which make up the ship were also built in Portsmouth.

Philip Hammond said: ‘The addition of the navigation bridge is a significant milestone for HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is now entering the final months of her construction.

‘The workforce at Rosyth should be proud of their involvement in developing the largest and most technologically advanced warships the UK has ever had.’