Local firms help build Britain’s largest ever warships
Companies from Suffolk and Essex have been praised for their contributions to building two of the largest warships ever made in Britain.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – the nation’s future flagship and the first of Britain’s two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers – was formally commissioned by The Queen this week.
Alnmaritec Ltd and Bollfilter UK Limited in Essex, and Ipswich-based Tex Special Projects Ltd, have all been involved in the projects. Bollfitter, based in Maldon, is a leading supplier of filtration systems and solutions covering the UK & ROI.
Alnmaritec in Colchester was formed in 1997 and specialises in the build of British designed and made aluminium work boats largely for the oil & gas sector.
Fifteen engineers and support staff from Tex Special Projects provided structural engineering and glazing systems for both carriers.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said the construction of the 280 metre-long ship – even larger than Norwich Cathedral – would never have been possible without the essential work undertaken by SMEs from this region and around the UK.
“Their Herculean efforts showcase our great British talent and saw HMS Queen Elizabeth complete her 2017 sea trials with flying colours as she prepares to project our interests right across the world,” the Minister said.
Chris Parker, managing director of Tex Special Projects, added: “We have long been involved in a variety of Ministry of Defence projects such as designing visual control rooms within air traffic control centres for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy air stations across the UK.
“For this project we had to design and overcome some very demanding technical challenges, delivering a near uninterrupted 290-degree field of view of the flight deck, which is unparalleled in any nation’s warships.
“We feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of this very prestigious capital project. For 12 years we have provided our technical expertise and supplied the Flying Control Room and all the ship’s windows, wipers and blades.
“Without the Queen Elizabeth Class programme, the Special Projects Company would never have been formed, so we are extremely grateful for the exceptional opportunity it afforded us.”
In 2015/2016 the Ministry of Defence invested nearly £1 billion in the East of England, supporting over 5,000 full-time jobs, and benefiting local economies.
Soon after the commissioning ceremony today (December 7), work will continue apace to ready Britain’s most advanced military vessel ever for the vital role it will play in projecting Britain’s influence around the world.
Next year the new F-35B Lightning II stealth jets, the most advanced warplane in the world, will start flight trials from the ship, and HMS Queen Elizabeth is on track to be fully deployable anywhere in the world by 2021.
Both of the UK’s aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between industry and the UK Ministry of Defence.
• PHOTOGRAPH: Prime Minister Theresa May gets a preview of the new flagship carrier