Aircraft carrier section begins journey from Govan to Fife

Section of HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier The carrier section will take up to nine days to travel round the coast to Rosyth

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An 11,000-tonne section of aircraft carrier has set off on its journey from its construction site on the Clyde to Fife.

The largest hull section of HMS Queen Elizabeth left BAE's shipbuilding hall at Govan three weeks ago and was loaded on to a huge sea going barge.

Bad weather had held up the latest leg of the journey.

It is expected to take between seven and nine days to make it round the coast to the Rosyth dockyard.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the Royal Navy's largest ever warship.

Six shipyards around the UK are involved in building various parts of the ship, which are being assembled in Fife.

The vessel will not be finished until 2016 at the earliest, and may not be ready for active service until 2020, when she will be based in Portsmouth.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Our next generation of aircraft carriers is on track with HMS Queen Elizabeth due to begin sea trials in 2017, and flight trials from her deck using our Lightning II fast jets in 2018.

"We are regenerating our carrier strike capability with the largest aircraft carriers Britain has ever had and fifth-generation stealth jets.

"Scotland has a world class shipbuilding industry that has benefited to the tune of around £1.3bn from the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. More than 2,000 people work on the carriers at Rosyth, with a further 2,000 on the Clyde."

The Royal Navy is expected to have no aircraft carriers between 2014, when HMS Illustrious is taken out of service, and 2016, when HMS Queen Elizabeth is completed.

The government decided to retire the HMS Ark Royal and its fleet of Harrier jump jets in 2011, five years early.

Ark Royal was recently sold for scrap by the Ministry of Defence, following its sister ship HMS Invincible.

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