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Graphic: Aircraft Carrier Alliance

Capital ship ‘visits’ the capital

Some newspaper articles branded the carriers ‘dinky’ (after a toy manufacturer popular up to the 1970s).

DINKY? Now who’s dinky?

But thanks to the team behind the 65,000-tonne leviathan, we can now show you how the future flagship might look – and dwarf the Palace of Westminster,

among other locations – courtesy of several artist’s impressions and graphics. At 280 metres (918ft)

long the carrier, which will enter

service later this decade, is 15 metres longer than the Palace of Westminster (which runs along the Thames for 265m or 870ft). Her masthead would rise 58m (190ft) above the river – not as

high as Big Ben (96m or 315ft), but six metres (20ft) taller than Nelson’s Column. As for the width, well with a flight deck beam of 70m (229ft), she’d stretch nearly one-third of the way across the Thames. With the first of the two super-carriers nearing outward completion Forth,

Alliance wanted to demonstrate the sheer size of Her Majesty’s Ships Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, using graphics of the ships alongside at Westminster and in their home base of Portsmouth. “They’re stunning images and

the at Aircraft Carrier Rosyth on the

show that the UK can expect two really spectacular ships once construction is complete,” said Ian Booth, programme director of the Alliance. As well as being longer than the iconic Victorian parliament building, each ship is three times longer than Buckingham Palace, five times the length of the Angel of the North, equivalent to 28 of London’s world-famous red buses parked end-to-end and 66m (216ft) longer than Brunel’s magnificent bridge.

graphics can ‘park’ the carriers on the Thames at Westminster – but how far up London’s great artery could they sail? Type 23 frigates are regular


Clifton suspension only computer

l Carrier Integrated Project Manager Paul Bowsher explains the work that has gone into the completed forward island to HMS QE’s Senior Naval Officer Capt Simon Petitt

Picture: LA(Phot) Guy Pool, FRPU East

events in the capital, go no further than the loop in the Thames at Greenwich.

visitors to the Pool of London, passing through Tower Bridge before berthing next to HMS Belfast. Carriers such as HMS

Illustrious or Ocean, which spent much of last summer on the Thames safeguarding Olympic

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According to the experts at the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton it’s not Queen Elizabeth’s draught – the depth of the ship below the waterline – which poses a problem but her width. Her draught of 9.9m (32½ft) is only a couple of metres more than Illustrious.

she’ll be too big to fit through the Thames Barrier.

ever see her in the capital… As for the real thing, well

outwardly Queen Elizabeth is now almost complete.

unlike her predecessors

Upper Block 07) is six decks high, home to 87 compartments, and the commanding officer’s day cabin, and accommodation for the carrier’s navigator. Perhaps most

contains Queen Elizabeth’s bridge – and for the first time a Naval officer has cast his eye from it. QE’s Senior Naval Officer Capt clambered up to

Simon Petitt

But with a beam of 39m (128m), widening to 70m at the flight deck level,

So this is the only time you’ll

The largest section of the hull, an 11,300-tonne segment which was delivered to the assembly yard in Rosyth late last year, is being joined to the ship as we speak. The forward island (uniquely,

the ships will have two towering above the flight deck) is due to be shipped from Portsmouth to the Forth this month and installed next month. That forward island (the official and rather dull designation is

importantly, it

longer than a marathon – and 3,101 pipes, plus most of the consoles. It’s the first carrier section to

leave the yard painted in its final colours; the ship’s true badge still has to be painted on to the structure, but a motif has been added to give an idea of the size. Upper

the bridge on a visit to BAE’s Portsmouth facility to see progress being made on his ship. “It really brings home the amazing ship that is being gradually revealed to my team in Rosyth,” he said. “To be able to stand where captains for the next 50 years will stand and steer the ship into operations is wonderful.” He continued: “When the block is installed on Queen Elizabeth it’ll be an event which will transform the overall appearance of the vessel – and make her clearly identifiable as an aircraft carrier and fighting ship.” Although the forward island is one of the smaller segments in the gigantic carrier jigsaw at 680 tonnes, it nevertheless contains a mind-boggling 43 kilometres (26½ miles) of cabling – that’s

joined in Rosyth this month by the final two sections of the flight deck, followed during the summer by the aft island (home to flying control, or Flyco, from where flight deck operations are choreographed) which a barge will ship from Scotstoun on the Clyde around to the Forth. The last external piece of the

Block 07 will be

gigantic jigsaw, the ski ramp which will help propel the F35 Joint Strike Fighters into the air – similar to the ramps which did the same for Harriers on the Invincible-class carriers – is due to arrive in the winter.

Queen Elizabeth is due to be ‘launched’ – more accurately ‘floated out’

extended dry dock – next year and will begin sea trials in 2017, with the next-generation jump jets joining her the following year for extensive trials. of a specially-

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