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Workers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth celebrated today (17th Jan 2010) as work began on the second major hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth being built at its site at Portsmouth Naval Base.
A steel cutting ceremony marked the official start of production on the stern section, referred to as Lower Block 05.
Weighing over 1,000 tonnes on completion, this section will house switchboards, air treatment units and the vessel’s steering gear, as well as some accommodation areas.
This latest step in the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme follows the start of production on the forward section of the hull, Lower Block 02, which began in February of last year.
Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class Project Director at BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said:
“Cutting steel on the second section of the hull here in Portsmouth in less than 12 months highlights the tremendous progress we are making on the programme to deliver the nation’s flagships.
“The sheer scale of the hull as it takes shape in six shipyards across the country is a reminder that this is truly a once in a generation engineering project and we are all extremely proud to be a part of it.”
BAE Systems workers at the Naval Base will also build island structures for the two ships and the pole mast, whilst integration and testing of the ships’ complex mission system is underway at the Company’s Maritime Integration and Support Centre on Portsdown Hill.
Yet another team of BAE Systems engineers is testing the advanced communications systems for the ships.
Elsewhere in Hampshire, Southampton-based Kempsafe Limited has contracts to supply galley and laundry equipment on the vessels, and Portsmouth-based Selex Communications is involved in the design of the Identification Friend or Foe system.
Work's underway at six shipyards across the UK employing 8,000 people on the QE Class programme and thousands more across the supply chain.