HMS Prince of Wales’ Bridge Ready for First Sea Voyage

The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier has been loaded out of its dock hall in Glasgow ahead of its first sea voyage to Rosyth.

Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince of Wales will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the Forward Island. As the main hub of the ship it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.

The Forward Island has been under wraps in Govan since construction on the section began in December 2013, but it is now visible from the west end of Glasgow.

Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said:

This is a fantastic milestone for HMS Prince of Wales as its Forward Island is delivered ahead of schedule and to an exceptional standard of engineering.

A single remote control and 144 wheels were used to drive the 680 tonne Forward Island from inside the ship build hall to the dock side at a careful half a mile per hour.

The Forward Island took another short journey on April 18 onto a waiting barge where it remains on the Clyde until its departure from Glasgow on Friday, 24 April.

After the transportation team ensures the Forward Island is secured for its sea voyage, it will sail down the Clyde and around the north coast of Scotland on a five day voyage to Rosyth where final assembly is taking place.

The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.

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Image: BAE Systems