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Assembly phase for new aircraft carrier begins

Assembly of Britain's second new aircraft carrier begins.

By Richard Tomkins
Assembly phase for new aircraft carrier begins
First-of-class HMS Queen Elizabeth. (U.K. Ministry of Defense)

LONDON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The largest hull sections of Britain's second of two new aircraft carriers have been docked in Scotland, marking the beginning of the ship's assembly.

The two hull sections -- one weighing about 6,700 tons and one weighing at nearly 9,000 tons -- were built by BAE Systems at company facilities in Portsmouth, England, and Glasgow, Scotland and are now in dry dock at Rosyth.

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"Every milestone in the carrier program is hugely significant and the recent announcement that HMS PRINCE OF WALES will enter service means there is a real sense of excitement as we start to bring the second ship together," said Ian Booth, managing director at the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. "Everyone working across the Alliance is incredibly proud of the work undertaken so far, in what is currently one of the biggest engineering projects in the country, and we remain focused on delivering both ships to the highest standards."

HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, which will carry F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. It will be 920 feet long, have a range of 10,000 nautical miles and a speed of more than 29 knots.

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The first carrier of the class is currently being outfitted with systems and is expected to begin sea trials in 2016.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance responsible for the shipbuilding project is a partnership between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defense.

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