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The construction of the ''largest and most powerful warship'' built for the Royal Navy is due to take another step today as its 11,000-tonne hull section is readied for a 600-mile journey to Rosyth.
The aft section of HMS Queen Elizabeth was moved out of a hall at BAE Systems' Govan Shipyard in Glasgow yesterday before it is loaded on to a barge today to be carried to the Fife dockyard next month.
A team of 40 people yesterday moved the section across specially reinforced tarmac at the yard in less than three hours using 450 remote controlled transporters.
The 80m (262ft) long and 40m wide (131ft) section, which houses a hospital complex, a dentist surgery and 242 accommodation berths, will take five days to travel round the coastline to Rosyth, where it will be joined up with the other parts of the ship constructed in Portsmouth.
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class block delivery director at BAE Systems, said yesterday:
''Today marks the culmination of months of hard work and preparation and I am extremely proud of the team's achievements in successfully loading out the aft section on time and built to an exceptional standard.
''The sheer size and complexity of the block both highlights the skill of workforce here on the Clyde and the huge amount of progress which we continue to make on the programme to deliver the nation's flagships.''
The Queen Elizabeth is due to be completed by 2016, with another aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, following later. They could be deployed in active service from 2017.
They are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
Project director Steven Carroll described it as ''the largest and most powerful warship we've ever built for the Royal Navy''.
Each of the carriers will be used by all three sectors of the armed forces and will provide a four-acre operating base which can be deployed worldwide.