A Parliamentary written question has revealed that the Ministry of Defence have not chosen where the Queen Elizabeth class will dry-dock for maintenance.

Ian Murray MP for Edinburgh South, asked a series of question on the topic:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish shipyard industry on future maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.”

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which dry dock facilities in the UK are under consideration as a future maintenance base for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.”

Guto Bebb, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, replied to both:

“The following dry-dock facilities in the UK are of a sufficient size to accommodate the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers:

Able UK, Seaton Port, Teeside; Babcock, Rosyth; Cammell Laird, Birkenhead; Cammell Laird, Greenock (Inchgreen); Harland and Wolff, Belfast.

Plans for the dry-docking of QEC aircraft carriers are currently under consideration as part of a commercial competitive process. It would be inappropriate to comment on which locations are under consideration until that process has been concluded and a contract has been awarded, as to do so would prejudice commercial interests.

For the same reason I cannot comment on any engagement with industry in relation to the dry-docking of QEC aircraft carriers.”

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May depend on the Type 31 and Support Ship contracts. Have to say seemed difficult to get her out of Rosyth but not sure if its any better or worse than the other options.


I thought Harland and Wolff was the only dry dock large enough to accommodate the carriers until they pumped millions into Rosyth. I would love to see them in Belfast for maintenance most of the work would be performed by contractors shipped over from England but Belfast definitely has the facilities especially if they received additional investment as part of the T31 contract.

Dave L

I still think they should consider rebuilding some of the locks in Portsmouth Dockyard so they can do an emergency docking without having to go all the way to Rosyth or Belfast (especially if Brexit results in either of them leaving the UK).

Simon Cooke

Where do you think Belfast is going?


Southampton KGV Dock.


It needs a gate


That’s not going to cost the earth. The reason it would be good to utilise the KGV dock is its proximity to Portsmouth and its distance from Russia.
in the real world your likely enemy tries to destroy your vessel or render it impotent and irreparable.
If supposing Russia was your adversary it would be wise to put some distance between them and the target.
The shame is Portsmouth and Southampton have been deindustrialised due to pc thinking.

Bobby fett

About time some mod contract work was given to tyneside considering the govt took everything away from us we still have one of the biggest dry docks on east coast on river tyne


Isn’t there a carrier sized/spec dry-dock in Gibraltar too?

Kevin martinez

The large dock might. I’m not sure. It was enlarged, I believe, to be able to fit the vanguard class battle cruisers. I’m sure Gibraltar would proudly upgrade it’s docking facilities so HMSQNLZ can be dry docked here.


Yes please Gibraltar. Please extend your dock so I can come and carry on working on the QNLZ in the sun.

barry white

Theres still one in Devonport


Unfortunately Devonport is too shallow and too windy and narrow to safely take a QEC carrier.


Sorry, thats incorrect. Tides have to be right but she can get in.


I know from the inside tug crews that they can get her in following simulation testing


Would prefer Devonport but Falmouth might be a contender.


Not a chance of that! The approach beyond the breakwater has a depth of 13 meters, the draught of HMS QE is 11 meters! That is way to marginal for it to be considered a safe prospect when there are better options elsewhere!


The Trident submarines have a draught of 12 metres they get them into Devonport.

Big Al

Well after Nicola Sturgeon going on about independence again it should not be in Scotland. I have nothing against the Scots (half Scottish myself), but time to play her game if that is really what she thinks Scotland wants.


Your right that’s exactly what Scotland wants and we built the carrier’s Clyde built world renowned ship building the best in the world so it will come back to Scotland for the maintenance


Who are you trying to kid i have never worked on such rubbish do you have a school for blind welders and platers in Glasgee btw?


Your comments are typical of Little England thinking.


Interesting that the argument for building the QE class at a re-engineered dock at Rosyth was made in 2007, at the time the local MP became Prime Minister!!!!! I recall being told at the time no other dry dock existed in the UK that was big enough. So since then, have Cammell Laird built 2 larger docks in their business, and has Harland and Woolfe’s enormous dock in Belfast only just come to the attention of the RN and Ministers, or was the whole QE programme dependent on getting the nod from the sitting MP for Kirkaldy………….sod the expense to… Read more »


Politics definitely plays a huge role. When LabCon have no seats in Belfast to worry about H&W gets no orders/investment as soon as the Tories are propped up by the DUP the defense secretary visits H&W to discuss building ships. They are not even transparent about it.


I think H&W still suffers from the Titanic perceptions as much as anything, although there is definitely a political issue with Belfast in a broader sense. And you are absolutely right re the DUP.


Not sure where you got your facts but the carrier build and surface ships program at Rosyth was the consolation prize for the submarine refitting going south. This was actually decided by the then Tory government following pressure by the local MP’s in the south west. The MOD had heavily invested in building a new submarine refitting complex at Rosyth resulting in millions of wasted investment, typical of interference by politicians of all flags to suit their short term political objectives and simply write of the loss to the defence budget.


30 yrs Service up to 2012 and being involved with ACDS Log Ops planning the Log Support for the QE class immediately prior to leaving.


I would hardly call building two aircraft carriers and eight, billion pound, frigates a consolation prize.


Isn’t there a Mothballed drydock in Southampton large enough to accommodate the carriers? Would seem to be an obvious choice given it’s close proximity to Portsmouth.


The dock is still there but the gate was taken away years ago .. It was run by A&P and they have removed all the ancillary buildings and workshops .. would take a large investment to get it up and running again


Peel Ports are currently stating that Inchgreen in Greenock is a major contender for this…. Inverclyde council have other ideas regarding one of the largest deep water ports and would like housing instead.

Billy the Welder

Is Inchgreen in Greenock(river clyde) not the biggest in Europe? Peel ports own it just now and are obviously interested in this contract


Surely it should depend on whether Scotland has another independence vote and which way it is likely to go


Why design a platform that can’t be docked in the secure dockyards we already have,truly bonkers beyond belief.


I do think with the instability that the SNP in Scotland is causing and the Brexit issue with N.Ireland that the main dry dock for refit and repair should be Birkenhead with Cammell Laird. An emergency dock should be in the following locations, Portsmouth and Gib, with possible agreements for Cape Town, Singapore and Hawaii.


Agee for the most part but I would swap Hawaii for Sydney and also add Yokosuka and Norfolk as places to get agreements for.
Cape Town for the location the other four because they have repair facilities.


If Scotland or NI or both go outside the UK in any way, then we’re in the same position as South Africa or the US – we’re not the UK. So logically any Scottish or NI location could be added to that list of emergency dock locations.


Kind of off-topic.

If the weight of the QE is 65,000 Tonnes, what is the maximum weight it can carry?

I’m just thinking back to that “massive” leak of 200 litres an hour that was apparently sinking the QE according to the rags, and wondering how many months or years it would have to continue to leak without anyone doing anything about it!

Yeah, a strange thing to wonder, I agree.


Mmm, even a quick look says she’s designed to have a displacement of 70,000 tonnes over her lifetime for upgrades, so that’s 5,000 tonnes spare, which means at least 5,000 tonnes of water would have to leak in, 5,000,000 Kg, and ignoring sea water being heavier than water (average 1.027 density), that’s 200 litres for 25,000 hours – 1,000 days, 3 years solid.

I’ll check out the DT in 3 years to see if she’s sunk yet.


Babcock, Rosyth and CammellLaird, Birkenhead With Harland & Wolff are obvious locations. But Cammell Laird, Inchgreen, or as I prefer to call this facility Cammell laird/Scott Lithgow, Inchgreen and Able UK, Grapthorp are two new sites mentioned here, with not just potential for drydocking of very large ships but also can be a the forefront in the growth of new viable UK shipbuilding. There are a large interest and desire for a new modern shipyard using the Inchgreen Dry Dock with the land attached to it for great new facilities. All this takes money, time and planning, but the ambition… Read more »