HMS Queen Elizabeth's final hull section

Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier hull sails from Clyde to Fife

A large unit of the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier has set sail on the journey from Clyde yard for completion on the other side of the country in Fife.

The carrier’s hull, which will be the UK’s largest ever warship, weighs 11,300 tones and will carried by a sea-going barge 600 miles from Govan, Glasgow to Rosyth on the Firth of Fourth.

The journey is estimated to last up to seven days with a distance of approximately 45 miles around the north coast of Scotland.

There's a real sense of pride here in the yard and across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance today. This is the final hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her arrival in Rosyth will mark an exciting and significant phase in the programme when we will really see the immense scale of the nation's flagships." said Angus Holt of shipbuilders BAE Systems.

The block was moved out of the shipbuilding hall two weeks, a unit which amounts to about 20 per cent of the ships overall weight. Six shipyards have been involved in the building of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

In Rosyth, the section will be moved to dry dock where it will be ready to join other sections already in place.

In Rosyth, an estimated 250 employees will follow from Clyde with engineering firm Babcock to finish assembly. Work on other sections continues at Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow and other work is under way in Portsmouth.

The Royal Navy expects to have no aircraft carriers between 2014 when HMS Illustrious is taken out of service and 2016 when HMS Queen Elizabeth is completed.

"Our next generation of aircraft carriers is on track with HMS Queen Elizabeth due to begin sea trials in 2017, and flight trials from her deck using our Lightning II fast jets in 2018.” said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. "We are regenerating our carrier strike capability with the largest aircraft carriers Britain has ever had and fifth-generation stealth jets.

He concluded: "Scotland has a world class shipbuilding industry that has benefited to the tune of around #1.3bn from the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. More than 2,000 people work on the carriers at Rosyth, with a further 2,000 on the Clyde."

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