The idea of using a floating drydock to maintain the Queen Elizabeth class carriers has been rejected by the Royal Navy.
Stephen Morgan, the Shadow Minister for Local Government, asked in a written question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the use of floating docks for the maintenance of Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.”
James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, responded:
“The Royal Navy and Defence Equipment & Support are working together to develop a long-term dry docking plan for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. The use of floating dry docks was reviewed early in these deliberations; however, they were rejected on infrastructure, security and access grounds.”
The Royal Navy are likely to use Rosyth or even, potentially, a custom built drydock in Portsmouth or another location for this work in future.
Floating dry docks aren’t new but docking ships the size of larger aircraft carriers is relatively infrequent. Even the recent dual docking of two US Navy Destroyers (pictured above) took remarkable planning, skill, and extreme precision say BAE Systems.
Last year, as Russian carrier Kuznetsov was undergoing repairs in a floating drydock in Murmansk’s Shipyard 82, the drydock sank and a crane on the drydock slammed into the Kuznetsov, leaving a gash in the ship’s hull.