Royal Navy begins work to build new mega crane that will tower over Portsmouth Naval Base

WORK has begun to install a new mega crane at Portsmouth Naval Base as part of a £15m overhaul of the military establishment.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 14th February 2020, 1:43 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 4:36 pm

Once built, the lifting system will become the tallest structure at the base, towering 68 metres above the naval hub and will be capable of lifting up to 30 tonnes.

It’s part of a multi-million pound revamp to transform 14 Dock into a new facility capable of carrying out deep maintenance jobs on frigates and destroyers.

The site was recently drained for the first time in 15 years, with dockyard workers cleaning 13,500 square metres of its surface and fitted a new caisson and sonar pit.

The new crane will become the tallest object at the naval base and will be capable of lifting 30 tonnes. Photo: Royal Navy

Captain Iain Greenlees, head of infrastructure at the naval base, said: ‘The project to bring a deep maintenance centre of specialisation for Type 45 destroyers to full operational capability at Portsmouth Naval Base has passed a number of milestones but this is going to be the most visible sign yet of the large investment the Royal Navy has made in modernising our facilities here.’

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The crane was built in Holland by Van Haagen Special Cranes and will be constructed over six weeks, with defence giant BAE Systems managing the project.

Once completed, the crane will support both 14 and 15 Docks, allowing the base to carry out more major refits than ever before.

The enormous components for the crane were transported to the harbour by delivery barge.

Sections will be moved outside core working hours to minimise disruption to naval operations, with potentially 80 tonnes on any load moving across the heart of the base.

The project is a key part of the Portsmouth 2030 programme which aims to capitalise on the choice of Portsmouth Naval Base at home port for the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

This has brought new facilities for training apprentices, a combined heat and power plant to energise the carriers when they are alongside, refurbishment of 15 Dock and these major enhancements for 14 Dock.

The latest investment at the base follows an £18m injection to modernise workshops next to the base’s deep maintenance complex.