The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says it is ready to go-ahead with contract signature for two new super aircraft carriers – the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK.

The carriers, to be named HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES, will enter service in 2014 and 2016 respectively and are expected to remain in the fleet for up to fifty years.

The carriers will be about 280m long by 70m wide, will displace 65,000t full load and will carry up to 40 aircraft.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Baroness Taylor says the government is investing about £14bn in the navy and maritime industry over the next ten to fifteen years.

BAE Systems and VT Group are now expected to press ahead with forming the joint venture company that will help build the carriers, the MoD says.

By staff writer