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.

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