UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has visited the new facilities being built to support the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which include power facilities, a reinforced jetty, and an area equivalent to over 200 football pitches dredged in the harbour to date. A total of £120m is being invested in Portsmouth Naval Base to ensure it will be ready for the country’s biggest-ever warships, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The Defence Secretary also opened Portsmouth’s brand new Ark Royal facility and met the personnel responsible for clearing historic ordnance uncovered by dredging work. The Ark Royal Facility will provide the ships company with top of the range facilities before they embark onto the ship for training and operations.
In order to prepare the harbour and dockyard infrastructure for the 65,000 tonne carriers, 276m of jetty has been reinforced with over 3,300 tonnes of new steel work. New navigation lights have been installed in the harbour and Solent, with huge new fenders and gangways delivered to accommodate the giant ships.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the QEC First of Class, is now well into her commissioning phase. It is expected that she will leave Rosyth for Sea Trials in early 2017 and arrive at her new home in Portsmouth in late spring 2017.