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.
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.
Weapons and sensors
Mission systems complex
Artisan 3D medium range radar
S1850m long-range radar
Highly mechanised weapon handling system
Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems
30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats
Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft
280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters
Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft
Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)
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 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
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
Top speed 25 knots/29 mph/46 km/h
Range 10,000 NM/18,520 km
Delivering HMS Prince of Wales’ bridge