UK readies berth for arrival of second aircraft carrier

The Royal Navy base HMNB Portsmouth will soon be ready to welcome the second of two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers as the work on the base’s second berth is in the final stages.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is working with its contractor Volker Stevin to deliver infrastructure worth £30-million to prepare for the arrival of HMS Prince of Wales.

One of the final pieces of the project was the installation of two fendered spacer units (FSU). The FSUs are identical to those which were installed on the Princess Royal Jetty for HMS Queen Elizabeth, however this time they have been constructed by Portsmouth company ML (UK) Ltd.

The structures, which measure 17.6 meters by 18.7 meters, slot into the jetty and move up and down with the tide to prevent the ship’s overhanging flight deck from colliding with the jetty.

The FSUs took 11 months to build and have now been put into position at Victory Jetty. They were craned from ML (UK) Ltd’s yard into the water at Portsmouth Harbour, final trim checks were then carried out and the ballast weights moved to ensure the units were floating level. Finally, the units were towed to their new locations on the jetty face.

As well as providing the FSUs, the project has involved refurbishing Victory Jetty to extend its life for more than 50 years, the construction of a new mooring dolphin, the installation a Galvanic Cathodic Protection system and the provision of a second high voltage electrical system which feeds the carrier through a new hydraulic boom.

HMS Prince of Wales is due to arrive in Portsmouth by the end of this year. It has already embarked her crew ahead of the first trials.

Photo: Photo: UK defense ministry

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