20/05/2008

'Super' Aircraft Carriers Get The Go Ahead

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced today that it is ready to go ahead with a contract to build two super aircraft carriers.

The MoD claims that the carriers, to be named HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK.

A joint venture, to be formed by BAE Systems and VT Group, will be a key member of the Aircraft Carrier Allliance of companies which will construct the new carriers in Portsmouth, Barrow-in-Furness, Glasgow and Rosyth.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "The two aircraft carriers will provide our front line forces with the modern, world-class capabilities they will need over the coming decades. They will support peace-keeping and conflict prevention as well as our strategic operational priorities.

"This is an important day for the project and I am delighted that we are moving closer to signing the contracts for the manufacture of the carriers."

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor, added: "Today's confirmation that we are proceeding with the two aircraft carriers underlines our commitment to both the Royal Navy and to the UK shipbuilding industry.

"We are investing about £14 billion in the Navy and in the maritime industry over the next ten to 15 years. The future carriers will provide an important military capability and will sustain many jobs - around 10,000 at the peak of production."

Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Jonathan Band said: "These ships with their aircraft will transform the UK's defence capabilities when they enter service, delivering air power in support of the full range of future operations at sea, in the air and on land."

The 65,000 tonne carriers are expected to enter service in 2014 and 2016.

It is understood each carrier will hold 36 fighter jets as well as four early warning aircraft.

The project has been long awaited, it was put off in 2003 because of MoD spending plans.

(DS)


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 July 2008
Aircraft Carrier Plans Take Off
Contracts to build two Royal Navy aircraft carriers have been signed. HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be the "largest and most potent warships" to be designed and built in the UK.
04 November 2010
Carrier Contracts 'Deeply Flawed'
A senior MP has spoken out regarding the Government's plans to build two new aircraft carriers. Andrew Tyrie, the Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee said BAE "put a gun to the head of the government" over "deeply flawed" contracts to build two new aircraft carriers.
08 September 2009
£52m Contracts Placed For Navy's New Aircraft Carriers
The MoD has announced that sub-contracts worth over £52M for a wide range of equipment for the two Queen Elizabeth Class Future Aircraft Carriers have been placed, helping to secure jobs and sustain work for industry across the UK.
02 April 2003
US missile debris found at scene of civilian tragedy
Veteran Independent columnist Robert Fisk has claimed to have found evidence proving that the US was responsible for Friday's bombing of a Baghdad marketplace in which 62 people died – and not Iraqi forces as has been suggested.
04 March 2011
UK's Biggest Crane Passes Under Forth Bridges
The UK's largest crane is on route to Fife where it will be used to build aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. The 68m goliath crane squeezed under the Forth Bridges on its way to Rosyth Dockyard at low tide marking its 14,000-nautical-mile from Shanghai, China. Halcrow's project, which is part of the Royal Navy's £4.