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Preparing for a prince: Putting the finishing touches in place for the Navy's second Queen Elizabeth Class carrier

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: HMS Prince of Wales, Portsmouth, Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, VolkerStevin

HMS Queen Elizabeth is parked next to sea wall at Portsmouth. A grey Fendered Spacer Unit is located near by.
The new Fendered Spacer Units have been put in place to prepare Portsmouth for the arrival of  the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier. [Crown Copyright/MOD2019]
Regular readers will remember that back in May, I blogged about the crucial work that DIO is doing at HMNB Portsmouth to prepare for the second of the Navy’s new aircraft carriers, the HMS Prince of Wales.

We’ve been working hard, along with our contractor VolkerStevin, to put the finishing touches to the £30 million worth of infrastructure required to welcome the second ship into its homeport.

And last week we met a significant milestone, with the installation of the 2 Fendered Spacer Units, or FSUs.

The FSUs which each measure 17.6 meters by 18.7 meters, have an important job. They 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 structures 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, rather than being brought in from overseas. They took 11 months to build and last week were finally put into their final positions at Victory Jetty. It was an exciting day for the programme team as we watched the FSUs being craned from ML (UK) Ltd’s yard into the water at Portsmouth Harbour. Once they were in the water, final trim checks were carried out and the ballast weights moved to ensure that they were floating level. The units were then towed to their new locations on the jetty face.

This was a real team effort and it was fantastic to be able to support a local Portsmouth company like ML (UK) Ltd through our supply chain, we are not only providing a boost to the base but also to the local economy!

The Fendered Space Units are grey with yellow markings around them. They are pictured on the sea with people working on the units
The Fendered Spacer Units  slot into the jetty to prevent the ship's overhanging flight deck from colliding with the jetty [Crown Copyright/MOD 2019]
The FSUs were the final piece in this major project, which has also 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.

This has been a challenging but rewarding project to be part of and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver infrastructure for such a crucial asset. We are proud to be playing our part to support future Naval capability.

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