Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers

Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick, our in-house mechanical and electrical engineering specialist, successfully completed the installation of electrical cabling systems on both the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. 

Each 65,000-tonne carrier is now fully deployed by the Royal Navy, boasting a range of 10,000 nautical miles and can accommodate up to 40 aircraft.

Over the decade-long programme, our involvement grew significantly as a result of our trusted expertise, transitioning from initial contributions in the design phase to securing multiple contract awards for the installation of cabling systems across various yards for the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock International, Thales Group and the Ministry of Defence.

Efficient cable installation operations

Our original installation contract covered the threading of nearly two million metres of cabling with associated containment, across both ships during the block build phase. Demonstrating operational efficiency, our team installed over 20km of cabling in a single week, a record at the Govan shipyard.

In addition to this, whilst working on the second ship, we collaborated with our customer to enhance operational efficiency by re-sequencing the works. This resulted in a tenfold increase in the cable installation rate on the lower bow section LB03 on ship 2.

89,000 cables

Routed using CMpic, BAE Systems' advanced cabling design and installation tool

£5m to £160m

In commercial contract growth across the four shipyards

2 million hours+

Worked without a lost time accident

Minimising risk and enhancing performance through innovation

To reduce time drilling numerous holes in steelwork to allow for brackets to be welded to the ship’s deck head, we sourced 110V hydraulic hole punches as an alternative. This improved the speed of installing the brackets and reduced the risk of working at height.

Increased scope of works

Efficient resource management and productivity lead to our initial scope of works being expanded by £125 million to include the full electrical activities and work packages for additional blocks that were originally planned to be self-delivered by the various shipyards.

The increased scope saw us working simultaneously on both ships, yet we continually achieved progress and programme milestones to meet commissioning requirements and final handover to the Royal Navy crew, enabling the successful maiden voyage from Rosyth and commencement of Sea Trials for HMS Queen Elizabeth in June 2017 and HMS Prince of Wales in September 2019.

Zero Harm

In May 2016, across five separate shipyards, we had employed over 450 operatives and exceeded two million hours worked without a lost time accident – evidence that our focus on safety through mandatory daily activity briefings kept people safe.

At the same time, we continually challenged the ACA to raise their safety standards to meet our own, resulting in the development of their Electrical Safe Systems of Work.