New centre to support British Queen-Elizabeth carriers nears completion

A new centre containing facilities to support the British Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is nearing completion at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans visited Portsmouth Naval Base to see how it is preparing to accommodate the Royal Navy’s two new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation will cover an area of 70,000 square metres – approximately the size of ten football pitches.

It will include a 7,000 square metre Forward Support Centre able to hold 15,000 pallets of medical, mail and naval stores under one roof, a café seating more than 500 people at any one time and a reception centre for all those working on or visiting the carriers.

The centre will house employees of Team Portsmouth, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, with engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff working alongside each other to plan and deliver the maintenance for these ships.

Mark Lancaster said: “Our £100 million investment in the naval base and the arrival of the carriers will support and sustain thousands of jobs across the region.”

Mike Howarth, Managing Director for BAE Systems Maritime Services in Portsmouth, said: “At 65,000 tonnes the new carriers are the largest and most complex naval ships built in the UK. It’s essential that they have high quality facilities and highly skilled people to support them.”

“With improvements to the jetty and construction of a high voltage power station already in its final stages, you can now see that we are well on the way to being ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next year.”

Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander, said: “The work on the Queen Elizabeth Class centre is yet another tangible milestone in getting the Naval Base ready to support our new aircraft carriers.

The creation of a dedicated area for the carriers forms part of the overall vision for Portsmouth Naval Base – four dedicated areas to support the ships based ships.

The first of these dedicated areas was opened in 2015 as the Centre of Specialisation for Frigates and Destroyers, while work began on minehunter HMS Brocklesby in the new Small Ships Centre of Specialisation in early May.