HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in Rosyth, Scotland for planned dry-docking and maintenance.
Well that wasn’t your typical morning commute!
Three bridges, two Queen ‘s and a Prince @HMSPWLS
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQNLZ) April 3, 2019
The nearly two month dry docking period will see Babcock can carry out maintenance work on the vessel. According to the Ministry of Defence, the work will sustain 100 jobs at its peak and it will be carried out over the summer.
Her Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Cook-Priest said:
“A lot of water has already passed under our keel since we left Rosyth in 2017. Our return here is yet another first for HMS Queen Elizabeth and another important step on her journey as Britain generates a big deck Carrier Strike capability.”
The head of Marine Engineering onboard, Cdr Mark Hamilton said in a release:
“This routine maintenance will include changing many of the large underwater valves, inspecting the rudders, propellers and stabilisers, as well as cleaning and touching up the underwater paint scheme. Having completed this work, HMS Queen Elizabeth should not have to dry dock again for another six years.”
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:
“After a phenomenal year of trials off the east coast of the US, this dry-docking contract is an important step for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she gears up for operations.”
When the docking period is complete HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail to conduct further sea trials ahead of deploying again later this year for ‘WESTLANT 19’, where she will embark British F-35B jets for further tests.
Recently, engineers aboard sister ship HMS Prince of Wales which is also currently at Rosyth turned on the ships diesel generators for the first time, say the Royal Navy. Simon Lister, managing director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance added:
“To all involved – and that is a large proportion of the entire workforce – my thanks and congratulations on achieving the first diesel start. This has seen focused effort, great innovation, real perseverance in the face of setbacks, and a commitment to quality that has been truly impressive. These are becoming the hallmarks of HMS Prince of Wales. Great teamwork from a large number of groups and individuals. Well done, thank you, and now for the gas turbines!”
The builders are hoping Prince of Wales will be leaving Rosyth dockyard for sea trials this year. The Aircraft Carrier Alliance are confident she will be ready for sea trials by November 2019.
Sir Simon Lister of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance said the ship is physically complete.
“We’re now at that stage of fitting out all the equipment inside the ship. Wiring it up, plumbing it up, and setting all that equipment to work. One of the powerful things about this contact is that any budgetary over-run is shared between the industry and government, so there is a very strong pressure to get this done at minimum cost to the taxpayer and companies,” he said.
“It’s our objective to finish this programme on time and as close to budget as we can.”
People I spoke to at Rosyth on my last visit told me that building HMS Prince of Wales has been “20% to 25%” faster than building its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth.
When on HMS Queen Elizabeth two years ago, we were 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. The builders are already applying lessons from including improvements to the process of preparing its heat-resistant flight deck and installing an improved F-35 landing light systems earlier in the build process.
Recently, 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.