August 21 - The 6,000 tonne hull section of the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier has been rolled out of its dock hall at BAE Systems' Portsmouth facility, ready for its transport by barge to Rosyth in Scotland.

The section, which is known as Lower Block 02 (LB02), was transported out of the hall and rolled onto a barge using SPMTs. BAE said that a total of 2,304 wheels were used to complete the load-out.

Driving the huge load onto the barge required the barge to remain level, so it was constantly being ballasted to ensure a safe transfer, said BAE.

ALE undertook the load-out mooring design and provision of winch equipment along with providing the associated ballast calculations for the launch. 288 axle lines of SPMTs were used to load-out the piece onto the awaiting Boa barge.

The aircraft carrier section, which has the dimensions 20 m x 70 m x 40 m, was then welded to the barge, and will now be shipped up the east coast of the UK to Rosyth, where the aircraft carrier will be assembled.

BAE explained that on arrival in Scotland, the barge is submersed into the water so that the hull section can be floated off.

This is the final section of the carrier to be delivered to the assembly site. A first 8,000 tonne section, known as Lower Block 03 (LB03), was transported from Glasgow to Rosyth in July.

The transportation was organised by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which is made up of BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence.

The launch of LB02 did have a sour note, however, as it marked the end of BAE's shipbuilding activities in Portsmouth.


LB03 on its way from Govan to Rosyth.