Two sections of HMS Prince of Wales joined at Portsmouth Dockyard

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The first two hull sections of the Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier is today being joined together.

Called rings, the sections make up the hull of the huge Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier – the second of its kind to be built at the BAE Systems Maritime ship building hall within Portsmouth Naval Base.

COMING TOGETHER The first two hull sections of the HMS Prince of Wales

COMING TOGETHER The first two hull sections of the HMS Prince of Wales

The newly-joined F and G rings have created a section of the carrier’s hull weighing 6,000 tonnes, containing two of the ship’s engines 348 compartments including 85 cabins, and is covered in enough paint to turn Hyde Park gunmetal grey.

Engineers in Portsmouth complete the hull sections, which are then floated to a massive shipyard in Scotland for final assembly.

The forward and aft islands – the nerve centres of the ship’s operations, follow after.

The final section of HMS Prince of Wales will leave Portsmouth on August 15 next year for final assembly in Scotland, where HMS Queen Elizabeth is already being completed.

Paul Bowsher, the man who is in overall charge of the QE class project, said: ‘We’re immensely proud we’re working on this flagship, it’s an absolute privilege.’

It is unclear whether this ship will remain in service with the Royal Navy, but if it does she will join HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth.