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'Major milestone' for new warship

The "largest and most powerful warship" ever built for the Royal Navy is beginning to take shape as two massive sections of HMS Queen Elizabeth were joined together.

It took around 90 minutes to move a 4,087-tonne section of the hull of the aircraft carrier 328ft (100m) via 132 remote-controlled transporters to join another section of the ship at BAE Systems' Govan Shipyard in Glasgow.

Engineers will now spend the next week ensuring that the sections are perfectly aligned before welding them together into a 263ft (80m) long, 11,500-tonne section.

Project director Steven Carroll said it marked a "major milestone" in the construction.

He said: "It's the largest and most powerful warships we've ever built for the Royal Navy. They are 65,000 tonnes, so about three times the size of our present 'invincible' class and these ships will be the flagships for the nation for years to come.

"It's another chapter in a rich history of ship-building on the Clyde and it's a major engineering endeavour and one that we should be proud of as a nation that we can deliver major and complex programmes in the way that we are at the moment."

Mr Carroll said up to 14,000 people are working on the project in terms of the construction, design and manufacturing and supply of materials.

The hull section in Glasgow, which will house two engine rooms, a medical area and accommodation, will now be fitted out before being transported to Rosyth in the autumn to join up with the other sections of the ship which have been constructed in Portsmouth.

The ship is due to be completed by 2016, with another aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, following later.

The ships are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.

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