THE Royal Navy has invested £1m in a new training centre to prepare sailors to man the nation’s new aircraft carriers.
A simulated operations room of HMS Queen Elizabeth has opened at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
It will allow sailors to practise sailing the giant 65,000-tonne warships and launching strikes on enemy forces.
The building has been named after Admiral Sir Lumley Lyster, architect of the navy’s carrier strategy during the Second World War and the mastermind behind the famous Taranto Raid in November 1940.
The facility was officially opened by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.
He said: ‘Admiral Lyster was a leader and innovator in delivering air power from the sea and this will be the primary role for the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.
‘It is apt therefore that the Aircraft Carrier Alliance should take him as their inspiration in developing this world-class engineering and training facility that will help ensure HMS Queen Elizabeth enters front-line service before the end of the decade.’
The new Portsmouth-based carriers, which cost more than £6bn, are the largest ships ever built for the navy.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is being assembled in Rosyth before coming home in 2016.
Construction has begun on the second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, with a large section of the hull and stern being built by BAE Systems workers at Portsmouth Naval Base.