About the ACA

Alliance Partnering

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.


The Aircraft Carrier Alliance was originally formed in 2003 and was made up of Thales UK, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence. Babcock and VT Group joined in 2005, creating the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and the memorandum of understanding and the actual contract was signed the following year. Since then, VT Group sold its ship building operation to BAE Systems and the remaining support and training part of the business was bought out by Babcock resulting in three industry members of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

A national endeavour, at its peak the programme directly employed 8,000 people across six build yards whilst a further 3,000 people were employed across the supply chain. While manufacturing and commissioning is now solely focussed at Babcock International’s facilities in Rosyth, the skilled and diverse workforce is sourced from across the country, including many from BAE Systems in Frimley and Thales UK in Bristol.

Working together, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance’s collective culture is one of an uncompromising commitment to trust, collaboration, innovation and mutual support with all decisions taken on a best for programme basis.

HRH the Princess Royal cut first steel for the hull of the first aircraft carrier, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in July 2009, exactly five years before the ship was officially named by Her Majesty the Queen. The first steel for HMS PRINCE OF WALES was cut by former UK Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox in May 2011.

Management Structure

Alliance Management Board

The overall management, direction and governance of the Alliance is provided by our Alliance Management Board.

Sir Peter Gershon


As Chairman of the programme Sir Peter Gershon assumes a steering and advisory role within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. Sir Peter’s career has spanned both the private and public sectors. Sir Peter was awarded the CBE in 2000 for services to industry and Knighted in 2004 for his work on public procurement.

Vice Admiral Simon Lister

Vice Chairman

As well as Vice Chairman Vice Admiral Simon Lister is the senior representative for the Royal Navy. As Chief of Fleet Support within DE&S Vice Admiral Simon Lister is responsible for the delivery of the maritime equipment programme and availability of ships and submarines.

Ian Booth

Managing Director

As Managing Director, Ian Booth assumes the overall responsibility of leading and delivering the programme. Ian ran the Typhoon airframe design and build programme, was Managing Director of the Astute Submarine programme and Managing Director of Fleet Support Ltd before joining the ACA.

John Hudson

Managing Director, BAE Systems – Maritime

John Hudson is the industrial partner lead representative for BAE Systems and has responsibility for the Naval Ships, Submarines and Maritime Services businesses within BAE Systems UK operations. John is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Ed Lowe

Vice President of Defence Mission Systems - Thales UK

Ed Lowe is the industrial partner lead representative for Thales. In 2006, Ed was appointed Managing Director of Thales’ naval activities in the UK, and latterly his responsibilities expanded to include the company’s military aerospace business. He became Vice President of Defence Mission Systems in 2013.

Henry Parker

Head of Defence Acquisition - Ministry of Defence

Henry Parker is the senior Ministry of Defence Acquisitions representative. A former Rear Admiral, Henry Parker assumed the role of Director Ship Acquisition in July 2014 having previously overseen the delivery of the UK Carrier Strike programme since February 2013 as Director (Carrier Strike).

John Howie

Divisional Chief Executive - Babcock

John Howie is the industrial partner lead representative for Babcock. He is responsible for Babcock’s submarine, warship and naval base management businesses in the UK and the company’s submarine deep maintenance operations in Canada. His role includes delivery of the Company’s commitments in the delivery of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

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