The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) : 2019-11-18

NEWS : 79 : 15


15 news THE PRESS AND JOURNAL November 2019 Proud shipbuildi­ng tradition Scotland was once renowned as the shipbuilde­r to the world. Though those glory days are long gone, this important industry still continues north of the border. Scotland played an important role in the recent constructi­on of the huge aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The Clyde is where much of Scotland’s shipbuildi­ng has taken place, with a history going back centuries. More than 25,000 naval, merchant and passenger ships have been built on the river and its tributarie­s since the Scott family first set up a yard in Greenock in 1711. Clydebuilt came to be a word meaning quality. Tens of thousands of people worked in yards in the area at its peak, and they produced some of the world’s most famous vessels of the 19th and 20th centuries. One of these was the British warship Hood, which was built at John Brown’s yard and launched in 1918. The long-serving battlecrui­ser, known as “the mighty Hood”, met her end during the Second World War. In 1941 she intercepte­d the massive German battleship Bismarck, but was hit by a shell and sank with the loss of more than 1,400 of her crew. John Brown’s yard was also renowned for its ocean liners. These included the Queen Mary, launched in 1934; and the Queen Elizabeth 2, the last superliner to be launched at the yard, in 1967. But Scotland has been home to other shipbuilde­rs apart from those on the Clyde. Hall Russell in Aberdeen was founded in 1864, initially to build steam engines and boilers. A few years later the company constructe­d its first ship, the Kwang Tung, for the Imperial Chinese Navy. The last vessel completed at the yard was the cargo-passenger ship St Helena, launched in 1989. Probably the best-known vessel from Hall Russell was 1950s trawler Sir William Hardy, which was sold to Greenpeace in 1978 and renamed the Rainbow Warrior. However, she was sunk in New Zealand in 1985. Hall Russell, which once employed more than 1,000 people, closed in 1992. So what went wrong for Scottish shipbuildi­ng? Commentato­rs say that, following the Second World War, many Far Eastern shipyards became more competitiv­e. Contributo­ry factors included huge subsidies and new constructi­on methods, as well as Clydeside yards being hit by strikes. Newest US aircraft carrier is in class of its own Aircraft carriers are the dominant vessel in the world’s naval forces. Their origins go back to the First World War, when there were experiment­s with flying planes off gun turrets of warships. But it was during the Second World War that the carrier really proved itself and became recognised as the most important ship in the modern fleet. The US is now the strongest military power on the planet and carriers are the centrepiec­e of its naval forces. The country has more than 10 nuclear-powered carriers including the USS Gerald R Ford, the first of a new class. She was the world’s largest carrier, and the biggest warship ever Queen Elizabeth was in the news during her sea trials when she met up with American carrier USS George HW Bush and her strike group off Scotland. Even from a distance the new British carriers are seriously impressive and dwarf virtually everything else in the Moray Firth. At the start of this month Prince of Wales cruised into the Cromarty Firth to restock fuel and supplies at Invergordo­n. It was her first port of call since leaving Rosyth. During her nine weeks of sea trials, 600 Royal Navy personnel are working alongside 400 civilian workers to test all 158 essential systems which include power and propulsion, radar, communicat­ions and essential services. Prince of Wales will subsequent­ly head for her home base, Portsmouth. Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth has been carrying out her second phase of flying trials with jets off the US coast and is due home to Portsmouth by Christmas. Each of the carriers will provide Britain’s armed forces with a fouracre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels could be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitari­an aid and disaster relief. Queen Elizabeth was commission­ed into the Royal Navy fleet by the Queen at the end of 2017. Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the then First Sea Lord, said at that time: “The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace, and offering our nation military and political choice in an uncertain world.” The new carriers were a long time in the making. The design process for the Queen Elizabeth class spanned several years, partly due to the fact that several shipbuildi­ng facilities across the UK had to be used. No single shipyard could deliver each of the entire vessels alone. The carriers, which are powered by gas turbine and diesel engines, are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. This involves BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence. At its peak the programme directly employed 8,000 people across six yards, whilst a further 3,000 people were employed across the supply chain. The primary shipbuildi­ng facilities were in Glasgow, Devon, Tyneside, Merseyside, Portsmouth – and Rosyth in Fife, where the blocks for both ships were brought together. built when formally commission­ed by President Donald Trump in 2017. Costing well over $10 billion, she weighs about 100,000 tonnes. • FACTS: Each carrier will have a crew of around 700, increasing to around 1,600 when a full complement of 36 aircraft and four helicopter­s are embarked The pantries, fridges and freezers of each ship can hold 12,000 tins of baked beans, 66,000 sausages and 28,800 rashers of bacon Britain’s new aircraft carriers Flu Vaccinatio­n Programme” A“ • Each ship weighs 65,000 tonnes and has two propellers weighing 33 tonnes each. is available to employers for their workforce either on site or here at our clinic! • • • Each carrier is made up of 17 million parts • • • BOOK TODAY Call 01651 863655 The flight deck has enough space for three football pitches • • • There are more than one million feet of pipes inside each vessel The power plants on each vessel could run 1,000 family cars The vessels will carry the new F35 Joint Strike Fighter fast jet 51 million hours have been spent designing and building the Queen Elizabeth class The ships are more than 900ft long Each carrier keeps 45 days of food in its stores Top speed is upwards of 25 knots