The Aircraft Carrier programme continues to drive forward at pace and in the last few weeks, we’ve seen the further testing of systems and software. These will provide the critical safety, mission and platform operational capability for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH when she takes to the water under her own power this summer.
The Ship’s company is already working and eating on board full time and we’re focussed on completing this final stage of shore-side testing and finalising all of the required activities for them to start living on board in advance of her maiden sea trials. A key milestone in the route to the ship’s staff living on board was the recent successful first testing of the Inergen System, a key part in the ship’s fixed firefighting arrangements. The effort and performance of the team delivering this incredibly complex programme is no more essential now in this phase of the programme than ever before, but with the eyes of the Nation upon us and our Customers eagerly anticipating the delivery of the ship by the end of the year, the programme for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is never more critical and reliant on the diverse skills, experience and expertise of the team.
In my last blog I talked about collaboration and the strength we find when we pool our collective knowledge to achieve our goals. Our achievements are a result of our people bringing their individual talents to the table, solving challenges and delivering on our commitments to our customers, and it’s essential that we continue to foster an inclusive working environment where individuals all play a valuable part in achieving our shared success.
To me, diversity is about more than simply metricating our organisation or considering the gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation of the people we work with. It’s about harnessing the collective strength of experience, skills, talent, perspectives and culture that each person brings to our organisation.
Occasions like our Alliance Leadership Conference, which we held last week, are great for reinforcing the value that this mix of experiences offers. Bringing together our most senior colleagues from across the programme, we really were able to share thoughts, challenges and opportunities to ultimately strengthen the way we lead the programme in the coming weeks and months. We focused on shared goals and creating the environment where our employees continue to be inspired by delivering the Nation’s Flagships and excited and motivated that together we’ll play a critical part in shaping in the ‘Year of the Navy’ and strengthening the UK defence capability beyond.
In the last month, we have also hosted senior stakeholders, including the Secretary of State for Defence, the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the Air Staff. Each of our guests recognise that what we’re doing on this programme is unprecedented in both scale and complexity, but have left Rosyth with a sense of just how HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is coming to life, and how HMS PRINCE OF WALES, following only two-years behind her sister ship, is progressing well into her outfit phase. In the coming weeks she’ll achieve one of her key milestones when the Artisan 3D Radar is installed onto the ship – another defining moment in her forming her iconic shape. The radar will be the Royal Navy’s main medium range surveillance and target designation radar for surface ships. The lessons being learned from HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH are being captured and built into our plans and the approach we’re taking on HMS PRINCE OF WALES. Our guests have been impressed with how our teams are transferring knowledge between the two ships thanks to the committed and talented people we employ across the programme, both in Rosyth and across the UK and in our wider supply chain.
In the coming weeks we’ll be launching a refreshed ACA website, with specific micro-sites for each of the ships hosting new images and videos from the recent weeks and months. Look out for this and don’t forget that you can continue to follow us on Twitter @QEClassCarriers.