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Specialist carrier centre nearly ready

25th May 2016 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation at the Royal Navy's Portsmouth Naval Base is nearing completion, BAE Systems announced on 24 May.

The centre contains facilities that will support the currently under construction Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. It covers 70,000 square metres of space and will include a 7,000 square metre forward support centre that can hold up to 15,000 pallets of naval, mail and medical stores. 

The centre will also house Team Portsmouth employees - a partnership between BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) that will see engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff work together to plan and deliver vessel maintenance.

The specialist centre is one of four dedicated areas planned to support vessels at Portsmouth. The first - the Centre of Specialisation for Frigates and Destroyers - opened in 2015, while work began in early May 2016 on the new Small Ships Centre of Specialisation.

The MoD will spend £100 million on infrastructure to support the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. Work will include refurbishment of the existing jetty for when the carriers are berthed at Portsmouth Naval Base; and the supply of a new high voltage electrical supply, navigational aids and upgrades to the existing drinking water system. Dredging work to ensure the harbour is deep and wide enough for the carriers is also being undertaken.

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.

'This centre will be the home not just for the carriers; it will also be home for the military and civilian people who 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.'

The Shephard News Team

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