It has been revealed that only 6% of the steel used in the Queen Elizabeth class came from overseas.
Over the years, the project has involved a number of production teams, including research and development, technical and production staff from five UK sites and mills.
Alongside the mills, technical and supply chain experts worked closely with BAE to provide more than 90% of the metal used in the build. Tata also worked closely with key suppliers including the UK’s leading independent service centre for the shipbuilding industry, Dent Steel.
Tata supplied material used in everything from the hull of the ship to the 130 tonne ski jump. Tata Steel also developed three new steel grades, FH36, EH46 and ‘Install Plus’. The new grades are lighter and stronger than previous types and allow the Queen Elizabeth class to use less fuel.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:
“94% of the steel used to build the two aircraft carriers that this government is bringing into service came from UK mills. The rest was specialist steel which could not be sourced here in the UK.”
A Government spokesperson said:
“No-one should be in any doubt that – across all of Government’s major procurements – we are working hard to make sure that wherever possible, British suppliers have a fighting chance of competing for and winning contracts. UK suppliers have provided significant quantities of steel for major defence equipment procurement programmes and new government guidelines will help UK steel suppliers to compete effectively with international suppliers for major projects, including those in defence.”
The Queen Elizabeth class mark a change from expressing carrier power in terms of number of aircraft carried, to the number of sortie’s that can be generated from the deck. The class are not the largest class of carrier in the world but they are most likely the smallest and least expensive carrier the Royal Navy could build which still have the advantages that large carriers offer.
Crew move aboard the first carrier in May 2016, sea trials begin in the New Year and Queen Elizabeth moves to Portsmouth in 2017.