The Graceful Voyage of a Mountain-Sized Section of Aircraft Carrier

This strange sight is part of a new Royal Navy aircraft carrier–without the actual carrier part–as it makes its way along the hazy River Clyde on its journey from BAE Systems’ shipyard in Glasgow to Rosyth.

The 750-tonne steel superstructure will control aircraft operations on HMS Prince of Wales, the UK’s next large warship, which is currently under construction. The aft island, to give the section of ship its proper name, was driven from the ship hall by a platform—with 144 wheels, 16 axles and a single remote control—onto a seagoing barge for its 1,335-mile journey around the south of England.


You might be wondering: if this is the aft island, is there another one? Yes there is, and the Royal Navy explains:

The Queen Elizabeth-class are the first aircraft carriers in the world to use an innovative twin-island design. The forward island contains the bridge and is primarily responsible for the command of the ship. The aft island is responsible for the ship’s mission systems and act as an aircraft control tower for the F-35B Lightning II jets, as well as Royal Navy helicopters.

Photos: Drew Farrell/BAE Systems


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