March 13 (UPI) -- Britain's Ministry of Defense says a major milestone has been achieved in preparing Naval Dockyard Portsmouth for handling new aircraft carriers.
Work on a historic jetty has been completed, together with dredging of an approach channel, inner harbor area and a berth to make them deep enough and wide enough for the two Queen Elizabeth-class ships, and it is expected to be in use by the end of the year.
"I am delighted that the works to the jetty are completed," Defense Infrastructure Organization Project Manager Philip Wise said in a press release. "It is a crucial element of the £100 million (about $125.5 million) infrastructure package being delivered to support the arrival of the carriers into their homeport of Portsmouth."
"We are looking forward to seeing the first of the ships berthing against the new and improved jetty later this year."
The Ministry of Defense said preparations for the carriers are now focused on a familiarization, integration and testing program designed by BAE Systems on behalf of the Portsmouth Naval Base commander and naval base staff to prepare equipment, personnel and processes for the arrival of the carriers.