New aerial images show the scale of first carrier

HUGE The HMS Queen Elizabeth in dry docks at Babcock Marine's Rosyth Dockyard.
HUGE The HMS Queen Elizabeth in dry docks at Babcock Marine's Rosyth Dockyard.
A Merlin helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been training with HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Naval Base as part of her Rotary Wing Trials

Helicopter puts flight deck crew through its paces

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DWARFING the buildings and cranes surrounding her, HMS Queen Elizabeth sits nearing completion in a dry dock in Scotland.

The full length of the giant carrier, which will be based in Portsmouth, can be seen for the first time as most of the major sections have been fitted in place.

The ship already weighs more than 40,000 tonnes, making her one of the heaviest in the history of the Royal Navy. When completed, she will weigh 65,000 tonnes.

They might look like little blue boxes, but the structures lined up on her flight deck are actually shipping containers.

And the blue crane which straddles the ship is one of the largest in the world.

Ian Booth, the programme director for the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: ‘These new images show clearly how much progress the Aircraft Carrier Alliance has made towards delivering these magnificent ships.

‘There are thousands of skilled men and women working on this programme and they should all feel proud of what they are accomplishing.’

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a consortium of firms working on the construction of the navy’s two new carriers, including BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.

The ship reached a major milestone earlier this year when the forward island, which was built in Portsmouth, was lifted into place.

Meanwhile, work has already started on the first sections of HMS Prince of Wales, the second carrier.

From keel to masthead the ships are 56m, 6m taller than Nelson’s Column.

Around 80,000 tonnes of steel is on order for the two ships, three times the amount used in Wembley Stadium.