Following the completion of post-handover engineering activities, the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will embark on front line operations equipped with specially modified materials handling equipment supplied by Briggs Defence.
The largest and most powerful warship in Britain’s illustrious naval history, the state-of-the-art carrier is 280 metres in length (920 feet) and has been built at six shipyards across the UK.
Amongst the ship’s inventory are counterbalance forklift trucks plus powered pallet trucks and telehandlers, all supplied as part of a contract between the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) project team at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Briggs Defence, a specialist division of leading asset management and engineering services specialist, Briggs Equipment.
The contract also includes the supply of a ride-on scrubber drier for cleaning critical areas of the ship, including the flight deck, and mobile elevated working platforms for ship maintenance activities, demonstrating Briggs Defence’s ability to deliver a fully integrated equipment solution.
Gary Clements of Briggs Defence commented: “The creation of the Royal Navy’s new carrier fleet, which also includes HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, is one of the most ambitious investment programmes ever by the MoD and we are proud to be associated with such a prestigious military project.
“As well as supplying equipment with a proven track record when it comes to performance and reliability in demanding environments, our remit also includes operator and maintenance training to enable the crew to service and repair the trucks and equipment while at sea.
“Much of the equipment we are supplying has been customised for use at sea to meet the specific requirements of the DE&S project team, and to fulfil the contract we have drawn on decades of experience in providing support for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) vessels.”
The new carriers have a displacement of 65,000 tonnes and a 10,000 mile range. Protecting UK interests around the globe, they are also designed to enhance the country’s contribution to international military operations and humanitarian missions. In the autumn F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter aircraft are set to join helicopters on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Gordon Farms, Contract Manager for the Defence Mechanical Handling Equipment (DMHE) and Protected Plant contracts within the DE&S project team, said: “Briggs Defence’s role in supporting the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers demonstrates its ability to deliver a comprehensive solution for the most challenging of military environments. Briggs ensures we can deploy the latest materials handling technology to enhance capability.”
When fully operational, both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be equipped with a 14t diesel counterbalance truck along with two 3.0t electric forklift trucks, two telehandlers, twin drive electric power pallet trucks, mobile elevated working platforms and scrubber driers.
Employed to move general stores on ship and to meet the demands of operating at sea, the forklifts have been modified with special ‘tie-down’ fittings, whilst the twin drive provides additional traction in difficult operating conditions. Each ship will also carry Hako Combi 400 scrubber driers for cleaning duties, which include keeping the flight deck clear of any debris that could present a significant hazard to aircraft on take-off and landing.