Prince of Wales

The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is setting sail on April 24, 2015 from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth. Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the «Forward Island». As the main hub of the ship, it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.

Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679
Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679

Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the UK’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard».

The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde. Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the UK on a nine-day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth.

Construction of the Forward Island began in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.

The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers to use an innovative twin island design. The second «Aft Island» operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.

The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.

The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability.

A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members
A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members

 

Weapons and sensors

Mission systems complex

Artisan 3D medium range radar

S1850m long-range radar

Navigation radar

Highly mechanised weapon handling system

Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems

30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats

 

Mission capability

Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft

280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters

Aviation store

Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft

Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)

The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs
The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs

 

Propulsion

2 × Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines (36 MW/48,000 hp)

4 × Wartsila diesel generator sets (2× 9 MW/12,000 hp; 2 × 11 MW/ 15,000 hp)

2 × 33 tonne propellers

4 × advanced induction motors

 

Accommodation

Accommodation for 1,600 personnel

Dedicated accommodation and facilities for embarked forces

Hospital area incorporating eight bed medical suite, operating theatre and dental surgery

Recreational facilities including fitness suites and cinema

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020
The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020

 

Main dimensions

Displacement                                  65,000 tonnes

Length                                                 280 metres/918.63 feet

Maximum beam                             70 metres/229.66 feet

Crew size                                           679

Embarked forces up to              921

 

Performance

Top speed                                          25 knots/29 mph/46 km/h

Range                                                   10,000 NM/18,520 km

 

Delivering HMS Prince of Wales’ bridge

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