Appledore celebrates aircraft carrier milestone

APPLEDORE shipyard workers are celebrating the shipment of the first sections of a brand new Ministry of Defence aircraft carrier today (Friday). The 300-tonne steel sponsons – outside sections of the ship s flight deck – will leave North Devon for Rosyth

APPLEDORE shipyard workers are celebrating the shipment of the first sections of a brand new Ministry of Defence aircraft carrier today (Friday).

The 300-tonne steel sponsons - outside sections of the ship's flight deck - will leave North Devon for Rosyth, in Fife, Scotland at high tide, around 6.30pm today.

The shipment - one of 20 regular dispatches that will leave the yard between now and 2015 - is being hailed as a milestone in the �3.9bn Ministry of Defence project to build two new warships, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The arrival of the sections in Scotland on Tuesday will kick-start the assembly of the first of the two ships, the largest ever built in the British Isles.

"Appledore's contribution kicks off the whole assembly programme at Rosyth," said the yard's shipbuilding director Andy Hamilton.


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"Appledore can feel proud that it is the first yard in the country to deliver the first sections for the first of two new aircraft carriers being built.

"Today is a big milestone for Appledore, Babcock, and the South West," he added.

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The assembly process, which Mr Hamillton liked to "mega Lego" is taking place in Rosyth because it is the only shipyard in the UK large enough to take on such a massive construction.

The contract to build the sponsons and bow sections for the new ships is worth �50m to the Appledore shipyard, owned by Babcock Marine. It will secure 300 jobs in North Devon until 2015 and is enabling an apprenticeship programme that will train 14 new workers a year for the duration of the contract.

For the full story and pictures, read Wednesday's North Devon Gazette.

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