The Aircraft Carrier Alliance has successfully handed over the HMS Prince of Wales Navigation Bridge to the Royal Navy, a milestone originally planned for March 2019.
According to a news release:
“In the spring of 2018, we took the decision to bring this milestone forward, and since then the production team lead by Harry McCluskey and Mike Ballantine have worked tirelessly with multiple trades to bring this compartment up to the standard required for CCI.
The Navigation Bridge is where the ship is commanded. When HMS Prince of Wales goes to sea, the bridge will be manned by the Ship’s Company and will include an Officer of the Watch aided by several Able Seaman acting as lookouts. The ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Moorhouse and his Navigator will also be present on the bridge.”
The Aircraft Carrier Alliance say that the bridge was completed on time through collaborative work between multiple trades including, Babcock production, Balfour Beatty, Ticon, the Mission Systems IPT and Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine.
They also explain that the main challenge in completing the bridge is that the space is particularly complex with a variety of different systems in a relatively small space. The systems span the full technology spectrum, ranging from a basic compass through to the complex Integrated Navigation and Bridge System.
“Part of the task of getting to CCI was to complete the installation of the processors that reside within the Bridge consoles. The Mission System team led this activity, under the guidance of Chris Apted who, along with their supplier Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine, completed the installation in just four weeks. On HMS Queen Elizabeth, this installation took three months, however, by allowing Harry’s team to mature the Bridge before starting installation work we improved performance, saving in monetary terms approximately £500,000.”
HMS Prince of Wales, will benefit from ‘lessons learned’ in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth. When on HMS Queen Elizabeth in December a couple of years back, I was told that the build of HMS Prince of Wales was expected to be around 8 months quicker thanks to “lessons learned” in the build process, this appears to be materialising.