in Defence

Aircraft carriers to be supported by new logistics facility

Posted 21 June 2022

A new Royal Navy logistics centre in Portsmouth – dedicated to crucial maintenance for the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers and wider naval ships and equipment – has been officially opened today.

Above: HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales at sea.
Courtesy MoD / Crown copyright

Providing critical support to the UK’s largest and most powerful surface vessels in the Royal Navy, the Queen Elizabeth Carrier (QEC) Forward Logistics Centre will streamline logistical support for the vessels.

The new Hampshire facility will see everything from new lightbulbs, to critical engine parts funnelled through the site, helping to ensure that following maintenance the QEC carriers can quickly return to operations to protect and defend the UK’s interests at sea.

Secured with a £7 million contract with BAE Systems and Francis Construction, the new centre is the final project delivered within the 19-year QEC Infrastructure programme. Beginning in 2003, the programme has invested £350 million into the Portsmouth naval base and £100 million in Scotland, creating and sustaining at least 550 jobs across the 50-year life of the vessels.

Located alongside the base port’s carrier berths, the centre was officially opened today by Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin.

Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said: "The Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers are the flagships of our Royal Navy, providing critical at-sea protection of the UK and our allies.

"Ensuring we can provide quick and efficient logistical support to our Royal Navy vessels is crucial to maintaining our resilience and operational advantage. I’m delighted to unveil a new facility dedicated to serving and preserving our Queen Elizabeth Carrier vessels throughout their 50-year lifespan."

The facility has been future proofed to support the UK’s Net Zero 2050 requirements. As a result, the roof hosts a photo-voltaic array consisting of 678 panels generating 250kW, with the adjacent car park array providing 1MW energy– comparable to the levels used by several hundred homes. The logistics centre is also the first Royal Navy infrastructure construction to be Net Zero in operation. Net Zero is the balancing of carbon emitted into the atmosphere and the carbon removed from it.

Hitting a nation-wide milestone, the facility is also the first building in the UK to be built using Rigid Inclusion. This sees structural columns embedded in the ground to reinforce organic or weak soils leading to less disturbance, better ground settlement and faster delivery with greater quality control.

In opening the centre, the Defence Procurement Minister outlined progress on the Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach, which was launched last year to set out the ambition, principles and methods needed for UK defence to meet the challenge of climate change.

Since its publication, UK defence has achieved several milestones including:

  • Developing a Sustainable Support Strategy to reduce the vulnerability of UK defence while maintaining or improving its capability, productivity and efficiency.
  • Updating policy and standards for new military infrastructure to a higher level of energy efficiency, mitigating future energy cost and resulting in lower carbon emissions.
  • Establishing a 1,000-person strong network to help support sustainable ambitions across Defence.
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