After two days of flooding the cavernous dry dock where HMS Queen Elizabeth has been assembled, the new carrier has been eased out by a fleet of half a dozen tugs and moved to an adjacent berth at Rosyth, where she will be fitted out over the next couple of years. The delicate dawn operation to cold move the nation’s biggest ever warship took only three hours, despitethere being just two metres’ dock clearance on either side.
Work to assemble the second of class in the vacated dock will begin in September, with large modules of the future HMS Prince of Wales due for delivery during July and August. These include the 8,000-tonne Lower Block 03 from Glasgow, three Central Block 02 sections and the 6,000-tonne Lower Block 02 from Portsmouth. They will join previously delivered sections of the ship awaiting assembly in the dockyard. Prince of Wales should be structurally complete in July 2016 and ready to start sea trials in January 2019.