HMS Queen Elizabeth is a ‘UK success story’, Britain’s Prime Minister told workers building the largest warship for the Royal Navy.
David Cameron, who visited the Babcock facility in Rosyth, Fife, where the aircraft carrier is being constructed, told around 200 workers that it made him "really proud" to see the "incredible result of British and Scottish engineering".
He said: "I think this is the success story that the whole of the United Kingdom can take great pride in. Just as the Olympics showed what we can do when we come together, you're showing it right here in Rosyth with this incredible feat of engineering.
"This has been and still is an immense task and, as soon as you have completed this aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales will follow, and I am very proud to be standing here and to say thank you.
"As was said at the Olympics, we want to make sure 'Made in the United Kingdom' is a badge we can be really proud of and I believe that, with these aircraft carriers, you here in Rosyth are making it is absolutely clear that it is something we can all be really proud of."
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of two 65,000-tonne ships under construction for the Navy. It is due to be completed by 2016, with HMS Prince of Wales following later. Six shipyards around the UK are involved in building various parts of the vessel, which are ultimately being assembled in Fife.
The 11,000-tonne hull section of the vessel is being prepared for its 600-mile journey from Govan Shipyard in Glasgow to Rosyth. The aft section is being loaded on to a barge today and will take five days to travel round the coastline to the Fife dockyard next month.
The vessels are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
Each of the carriers will be used by all three sectors of the Armed Forces and will provide a four-acre operating base which can be deployed worldwide.
When finished, the warship will be 280m long, 70m wide and 56m high from keel to masthead, 4m taller than Niagara Falls.
A team of 40 people yesterday moved the hull section across a specially reinforced surface at the Govan yard in less than three hours, using 450 remote controlled transporters.
The 80m long and 40m wide section, which houses a hospital complex, a dental surgery and 242 accommodation berths, will be joined up with the other parts of the ship constructed in Portsmouth.
Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class block delivery director at BAE Systems, said yesterday: "Today marks the culmination of months of hard work and preparation and I am extremely proud of the team's achievements in successfully loading out the aft section on time and built to an exceptional standard.
"The sheer size and complexity of the block both highlights the skill of the workforce here on the Clyde and the huge amount of progress which we continue to make on the programme to deliver the nation's flagships."
Project director Steven Carroll described it as "the largest and most powerful warship we've ever built for the Royal Navy".
Cameron was speaking to the workers ahead of a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond in Edinburgh where a deal was signed granting Holyrood the power to hold a referendum on independence.