A&P to construct aircraft carriers

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Tyneside shipbuilders A&P have received a £55m contract to construct a section of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

Tyneside shipbuilders A&P have received a £55m contract to construct a section of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

The five-year project will see a 210-strong workforce manufacture a 1,000 tonne section that will form part of the carriers. Once complete, the 65,000 tonne carriers are expected to be the largest warships ever constructed in the UK.

Tony Graham, head of Capital Ships at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), said: ‘This is an historic day for shipbuilding in the North East, marking its involvement in the biggest shipbuilding programme the navy has seen. It is fantastic that the young apprentices who have been taken on by A&P are learning their trade on these carriers, which will be the cornerstone of the future navy.’

The aircraft carriers are being constructed in separate sections at locations throughout the UK, before they are shipped to Rosyth in Scotland where they will be fitted together. In preparation for the contract, A&P has invested in equipment including a plasma cutter and panel line at the Hebburn site, which will allow A&P Tyne to deliver its parts of the aircraft carriers.

Quentin Davies, minister for defence equipment and support, said: ‘Companies right across the UK are involved in delivering this project, which represents a step change in defence’s capability, enabling Britain to deliver airpower from the sea wherever and whenever it is required. The excellent progress being made by A&P here on the Tyne is evidence of the absolute commitment to delivering this vital capability.’

BAE Systems Surface Ships is the prime contractor for the project. Total contracts for the equipment that will furnish the ships is currently estimated to be worth over £1bn.