Today’s naming ceremony of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth marks a major milestone in Tata Steel’s 12-year involvement in the project.
In that time the company has supplied 40,000 tonnes of steel and developed three entirely new grades of lighter and stronger steel specifically for the future flagship of the Royal Navy. Tata Steel will also supply steel for the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.
The naming ceremony will come five years after the first steel was manufactured at Tata Steel’s UK plants for HMS Queen Elizabeth and 33 months after the first section of the 280 metre-long vessel entered the dry dock at Rosyth, Scotland to commence construction.
Over the years, the project has involved a number of Tata Steel teams, including research and development, technical and production staff from five UK sites and mills. Alongside the mills, technical and supply chain experts, as well as a dedicated project management team, worked closely with BAE Systems to provide more than 90% of the steel used in the build. Tata Steel also worked closely with key suppliers including the UK’s leading independent service centre for the shipbuilding industry, Dent Steel.
Tata Steel supplied steel used in everything from the hull of the ship to the 130-tonne ‘ski-jump’ section of the flight deck, designed to allow aircraft to take-off with larger payloads than ever before.
In 2007, Tata Steel metallurgists developed three new steel grades, FH36, EH46 and ‘Install® Plus’ welded tube, all approved by Lloyd’s Register. The new grades are lighter and stronger than previous innovations, allowing the Queen Elizabeth class to be more agile and use less fuel.
Phil Knowles, Commercial Manager at Tata Steel, said: “It has been fascinating to be part of such an exciting and high-profile project. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy. Our teams have had to continually innovate throughout the process as technology and certain requirements have naturally developed since we became involved 12 years ago. The naming ceremony is a huge milestone and we are extremely proud of what we have managed to achieve so far.”
Tata Steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer and offers a wide range of products, services and a proactive programme of research and development to the shipbuilding industry.