Cammell Laird pride as Queen names giant new aircraft carrier
CAMMELL Laird Chief Executive John Syvret, CBE, has spoken of his pride in the famous Merseyside shipbuilding and marine engineering services business at the official naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth by Her Majesty the Queen.
The huge aircraft carrier was partly built at Cammell Laird and assembled at the Rosyth Naval Dockyard in Scotland.
The Queen carried out the traditional naming ceremony on July 4 by breaking a bottle of Islay Scotch whisky over the vessel, which is the Royal Navy’s biggest-ever warship. She said the ship represented an exciting new era for the Royal Navy and would be a source of pride and inspiration for many.
Mr Syvret travelled to Scotland for the event and said: “I am immensely proud of our workforce and their skills. This is a testament to what we can achieve now and in the future. We have played a huge part in this project and it is incredible to see the components assembled into a giant ship.
“Our workforce has proved they have the skills to handle high-tech projects like this. We have the facilities at Birkenhead to deal with the biggest of projects. This work is a great way of getting our brand and business into international markets.”
Also present was Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts and project director John Drummond.
Cammell Laird built the vast carrier’s flight deck, hangers and some accommodation at its Birkenhead site. These were then towed to Scotland where the ship was assembled. Staff from Cammell Laird have also worked at Rosyth with their Scottish colleagues.
Hundreds of workers watched the Queen’s naming ceremony along with VIP guests including Prime Minister David Cameron, the First Sea Admiral Sir George Zambellas and other military chiefs.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first warship to be ‘christened’ by the Queen in 15 years. At 70,600 gross tonnes, the ship is three times the size of HMS Illustrious.
She is one of two new ships being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence. BAE Systems has an overarching role in managing the QE Class programme, as well as playing a central role in the design and build of the ships.
The QE Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s military capability. Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Cammell Laird was awarded the £44m contract by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance in late 2009 and began an extensive process of preparing its Birkenhead facilities, including its modular construction hall, to accommodate the manufacture of the huge steel structures.
In May 2012, the company completed the first five modules of the project known as Centre Block 02. These massive modules weighing between 583 tonnes and 927 tonnes each and a combined weight of 3,500 tonnes were transported by ocean-going barge on a five-day journey from Cammell Laird to Rosyth near Edinburgh.The final two of a total of nine upper block units constructed by Cammell Laird, known as Centre Blocks 04C and 04D, left the shipyard in March 2013.
Cammell Laird is now well underway with building sections of the HMS Queen Elizabeth sister ship the HMS Prince of Wales.
The aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy, nearly three times the size of the current Invincible-class carriers.