BLÜCHER chosen for the UK’s super-carriers

HMS Queen Elizabeth

In 1998 the UK Ministry of Defence decided that their current ‘Invincible’-class aircraft carriers with a tonnage of 22,000 were to be replaced by two new, larger aircraft carriers. In 2007 the order of £3.8bn for the new ships was announced after exhaustive studies and a few years postponement.

The two new ships, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the UK’s first super-carriers and the largest warships ever built in the country. The new class of ships has been named ‘Queen Elizabeth’. The carriers will have a tonnage of 65,000 and will have room for up to 40 aircrafts. With a length of 280 m and a width of 70 m, the ships will be 90 m longer and double the width of the current aircraft carriers.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance
The ships will be built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a collaboration between Babcock, BAE Systems, Thales UK and the UK Ministry of Defence, which acts as a member of the alliance as well as the customer.

The first of the two ships, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is well-underway. The first steel was cut at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Govan in July 2009. The pictures from Govan above show two giant sections of the hull being moved together for the first time. The ship will be constructed in nine blocks at six different shipyards in the UK, before it is finally assembled at the Rosyth Royal Dockyard in Scotland.

The construction is expected to finish in 2016, and HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to be employed in 2020. The two new ships will be versatile enough to support war efforts as well as provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Tests and approvals were the key
BLÜCHER has supplied 50, 75, 82 and 110mm BLÜCHER® EuroPipe and marine drains for installation on HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

"We were able to meet the ACA’s exacting standards through our wide range of pipe lengths and fittings", says Peter Hardiman, Managing Director of BLÜCHER UK. "The approvals and thorough shock and vibration tests of our products combined with a number of references for navy ships in other countries were also key elements in securing the order".

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Project facts 
Developer: Royal Navy, UK Ministry of Defence 
Shipyards: BAE Systems, Babcock International Group PLC, A&P Group Limited and Cammell Laird 
Tonnage: 65,000 tons  
Length: 280 m  
Width: 70 m 
Height: 56 m 
Draught: 11 m 
Products: BLÜCHER® EuroPipe for black and grey water systems, and BLÜCHER marine drains 
Construction period: 2009 – 2016 (expected) 
Geography: United Kingdom