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BAE begins construction of first QE class aircraft carrier

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Artist depiction of the Queen Elizabeth class CATOBAR design.

PORTSMOUTH (BNS): BAE Systems has begun the construction of first Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, at its facility center in Portsmouth Naval Base, the company announced Wednesday.

The first steel cutting ceremony has formally marked the start of production on the island structure in the presence of Second Sea Lord and Commander in Chief Naval Home Command, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery CBE ADC.

“I am pleased to start official construction for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s forward island. The Queen Elizabeth Class will be joint assets for defence and, as such, will be a fundamental component of the UK’s joint capability over the coming decades," Vice Admiral Montgomery said.

“By routinely carrying a Joint Force Air Group they will deliver air power from the sea wherever and whenever required and in a stronger and more decisive form than ever before. Real progress is being made on this project and I look forward to seeing the next major block, Lower Block 03, arrive in Rosyth in August,” he added.

Designed with a twin island configuration, the Queen Elizabeth Class will benefit from its flying operations being separated from the running of the vessels, resulting in maximum flexibility and greater control of flight deck operations.

BAE Systems will also build the aft island, which will be responsible for all air operations and air traffic control, with production expected to start in the autumn.

The aircraft carrier is expected to enter in service by 2020.

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