THE Royal Navy is more than prepared for the new QE class carrier to arrive in Portsmouth at the end of this year, following a multi-million pound infrastructure project.
The naval base has invested in a series of upgrades in anticipation of the arrival of the HMS Prince of Wales, including a new jetty that allows it to accommodate both of the navy’s new carriers.
Tens of millions of pounds has been spent on the project, which Captain David George has described as a ‘significant change’.
The captain of the base said: ‘Quite rightly the vast bulk of the preparatory work is physical in nature, but the arrival of the second carrier marks a step change in operational output.
‘The UK will be returning shortly to continuous carrier capability, with the Royal Navy’s, and indeed UK’s, influence extended through the Maritime Task Group concept.
‘HM Naval Base Portsmouth has moved with the policy; our ability to support the task group has become more agile, responding to the nature and tempo of 21st century operations.
‘Nevertheless, the base has had to undergo significant change to meet the new requirements.’
Along with the new jetty, the current Victory jetty has been modernised to the tune of £30m.
Improvements include additional piling to support berthing loads and a fresh water pumping system.
A new £13m combined heat and power plant will also supply power to the carriers when they dock at the base.
Captain Iain Greenlees, team leader of the carrier infrastructure programme since 2009, said: ‘These projects bring to a close a historic period of development for the base, covering eight years of environmental and costs assessment and six years of construction.
‘Delivering this programme to time and cost has only been possible by MoD and large teams of industry partners working closely together, with the support of the city and harbour users, to get the base ready to support these fabulous ships for the next 50 years.’
HMS Prince of Wales is due in Portsmouth for the first time next month.