The final section of the HMS Queen Elizabeth has left BAE Systems's shipyard at Scotstoun in Glasgow, bound for Rosyth in Fife, where the final assembly will commence.
The 750-tonne air traffic control tower, also known as the Aft Island or the Upper Block 14, will be the centre of all flight operations of the warship that is scheduled for sea trials in 2017.
BAE managed to complete the block ahead of schedule, in 86 weeks from the first steel cut. "The delivery of the aft island is a huge milestone for the aircraft carrier programme and we are extremely proud to have achieved this. The island has been completed to an exceptional standard which is testament to the skills and talent of our workforce here on the Clyde,” said Angus Holt, Queen Elizabeth Class block delivery director for BAE.
The section has been loaded on a barge and is expected to cover the 966km distance to Fife in four days. The Aft Island will have to be lifted on to the flight deck by the Goliath Crane.
When completed, the warship, having been built by six shipyards around the UK, will be over 280m long and weighing more than 65,000 tonnes. It will be able to accommodate a crew of 1,600 people, including pilots of carried aircraft.
"Once the island has arrived in Rosyth, the full scale of the nation's flagship ship will be revealed for the first time," Holt said.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will become, together with HMS Prince of Wales, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy. Both vessels are being constructed by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence.
About 10,000 people have worked on the construction at various stages.