The Prime Minister has announced that the two aircraft carriers currently under construction for the Royal Navy will both enter service. There had been concerns that the second ship would be sold off or mothballed upon completion. The commitment to operate both ships was made after NATO Alliance leaders agreed to reverse declining defence budgets and raise them to two per cent of GDP over the coming decade at a summit recently held in Cardiff.
Assembly of HMS Prince of Wales has now begun, with the docking of two of the ship’s largest hull sections, Lower Block 02 (pictured) and Lower Block 03, weighing 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes respectively, for integration at Rosyth. A significant plan of investment is also under way to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base as homeport for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers by 2017. This includes dredging the approach and main channels inside the harbour, upgrades to navigational aids and the refurbishment of several jetties.