Portsmouth Naval Base is preparing for the arrival of HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is working with its contractor Volker Stevin to deliver crucial infrastructure worth £30-million to ensure the base’s second operational berth is ready in time for the carrier, which is due to arrive by the end of this year.

“One of the final pieces of the project was the installation of 2 Fendered Spacer Units (FSU). The FSUs are identical to those which were installed on the Princess Royal Jetty for HMS Queen Elizabeth, however this time they have been constructed by Portsmouth company ML (UK) Ltd, rather than being brought in from overseas. The structures, which measure 17.6 metres by 18.7 metres, slot into the jetty and move up and down with the tide to prevent the ship’s overhanging flight deck from colliding with the jetty.”

The FSUs took 11 months to build and have now been put into position at Victory Jetty. They were craned from ML (UK) Ltd’s yard into the water at Portsmouth Harbour, final trim checks were then carried out and the ballast weights moved to ensure the units were floating level. Finally, the units were towed to their new locations on the jetty face.

Colin Efford, DIO’s Project Manager, said:

“It’s fantastic to see the finishing touches being put to this important project which has made improvements to the existing Victory and Sheer jetties, so they can support the 65,000-tonne new carrier. We are pleased to be working with Volker Stevin and ML(UK) and to support a local company through the supply chain.

This has been a challenging but rewarding project and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver infrastructure for such a crucial Naval asset. We are proud to be playing our part to support future Naval capability.”

Martin Hobson, Managing Director of ML (UK) said:

“As a local Small to Medium Enterprise, which has worked for many years within the naval base, we are delighted to have been selected to manufacture and deliver the two FSUs for the second aircraft carrier berthing facilities. We have achieved a very high-quality product which has been delivered safely and in a timely fashion. The whole team is very proud to have worked on this local project.”

Robert Herbert, Project Manager at VolkerStevin, said:

“This project has been fantastic to work on and I’m proud VolkerStevin has played a central role in the delivery of this nationally significant and challenging infrastructure project.

Working with local business, ML (UK) has been key to the successful installation of the FSUs and the end result is a real testament to the value of the local supply chain.”

As well as providing the FSUs, the project has involved refurbishing Victory Jetty to extend its life for more than 50 years, the construction of a new mooring dolphin, the installation a Galvanic Cathodic Protection system and the provision of a second high voltage electrical system which feeds the carrier through a new hydraulic boom.

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Im assuming the FSU’s are the green things (floating) next to the hull on the water surface, essentially a large bumper?


Meirion X

It looks like it, connecting into the jetty of the quayside adjacent to the docked PoW.
Part of the quayside, is a removable jetty to allow HMS Victory to get out of the pond to sea.


Surely we haven’t got that desperate? I think Victory has earned her retirement and should not be expected to go into the line again!


You NEVER know…



Times is ‘ard….

andy reeves

arr they be

andy reeves

float her out and call her a batch 3 opv



Meirion X

The UK now has 18 F-35B’s.


half a carrier worth?

Steve Martin

Looking at the issues it’s proven pretty wise to wait to scale up procurement to later software versions.


As much as some hate to acknowledge – You’re absolutely right.

Granted another major driving factor is the price and available £££ in the budget but allowing the development process carries at least as much weight in the decision making as the overall cost I would say.

John Clark

Hi Andy,
The slow delivery rate for the F35 works for us on two levels, first, due to the ‘reforms’ (fall about laughing) made to the fast jet training pipe line, if we had 12 aircraft a year arriving at Marham, they would all be going into store, as theres no one to fly them!

As production of the F35 ramps up and block 4 reaches maturity, the unit cost of the F35 comes down.

It is all coming together nicely, just frustratingly slowly for the likes of us!


So if we’re doing all this, I’m guessing PoW will definitely enter service then!


Ah, but if Boris doesn’t last the distance, what will Corbyn do (about the POW)??


I suspect the fate of POW will be the least of our worries with Corbyn in power…. but it’s probable the carriers (QE class), amphibious craft (Albion class), and destroyers (T45 Daring), along with the SSBNs (Vanguard & Dreadnaught) wouldn’t survive his premiership. Laid-up, then gradually sold/ scrapped. The rationale being all these vessels are for ‘offensive operations’ whereas escorts and OPVs are for ‘defensive duties’.

John Clark

Who knows Sean, it wouldn’t be good that’s for sure!

We could expect severe, probably terminal damage to the special relationship with the Americans and probably and end to our Nuclear deterrent, at the very least!


I suspect our American friends would probably be inundated with requests from Brits for political asylum…
I’d certainly be tempted


comment image&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Farticle-2268909%2FTaranis-Britains-deadly-superdrone-picks-targets.html&docid=kLenzHTXRXwH0M&tbnid=itmPECqlOK8WwM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwjtkPH7tLzkAhVcDWMBHRbhBOsQMwhMKAgwCA..i&w=1908&h=1146&bih=427&biw=911&q=taranis%20payload&ved=0ahUKEwjtkPH7tLzkAhVcDWMBHRbhBOsQMwhMKAgwCA&iact=mrc&uact=8 from u.k carriers?

andy reeves

could an armed taranis drone operate from q.e and p.o.w?

Meirion X

Taranis can Not at present operate from QE. or PoW because the carriers are Not CATOBAR, No cat & traps. This issue has been debated a lot on here!


30m quid for some fenders?!! Ridiculous! That’s very nearly 2 wings of an F35!


30m quid for a few fenders?!! Ridiculous. That’s very nearly 2 wings of an F35!


I,m sure someone will school me on this comment but whatever happened to these carriers been able to carry 70 aircraft which I remember was being told when they were in the early stages of being built.The u.s boxer can hold 40 warplanes,20 harriers and 20 f35s in total and only weigh in at 40.000 tonnes and also armed with far superior weaponary compared to just our few phalanx and machine guns.Could we not of just sent the invincible class in for major upgrades new engines,maybe extended a bit e.c.t and carried 20 f35s on each of these at least… Read more »