'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.


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