The bridge section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier set sail today from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth.
Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince
of Wales will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the Forward Island. As the main hub of the ship it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.
Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said, “This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the U.K.’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard.”
The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde.
Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the U.K. on a nine-day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth.
Construction of the Forward Island began
in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.
The 65,000-metric-ton Queen Elizabeth Class vessels are the first aircraft carriers to use the twin island design. The second Aft Island operates as an airport control tower to coordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.
The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two meters tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.