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Case Study - HMNB Portsmouth

Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier 2000A Form 4 Type 6 LV Switchboard - Project Value £60,000


The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers currently under construction for the Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is expected to be in service late 2017 whilst the second, HMS Prince of Wales, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 and in service shortly after. HMNB Portsmouth will be the home of the two aircraft carriers, the biggest and most powerful warships ever built for the Royal Navy. To accommodate these new vessels, infrastructure improvements totalling £120M has been invested in Portsmouth Naval Base to ensure it is a fitting and state of the art home for these vessels following their successful sea trials.

Volker Stevin were appointed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) as Principal Contractor for the design and build contract for the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Base Porting Infrastructure Project in Portsmouth. Addison Projects plc were appointed by Volker Stevin to undertake the M&E works.

After a stringent vendor assessment & tender process, Blackburn Starling was appointed by Addison Project plc to design and manufacture the 2000A, 400V LV switchboard.  The dockside auxiliary supplies form 4 rear access LV switchboard was fully designed and manufactured in the UK at Blackburn Starling’s Nottingham Factory to meet the robust marine requirements required by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). A key element of the project was that Blackburn Starling’s in-house Design & Manufacturing team were able to work in conjunction with the client to design a bespoke solution to fit within the very tight footprint available in the new sub-station. The switchboard will provide the LV auxiliary supplies for HMS Queen Elizabeth when she is in port via a Giant Hydraulic Boom which is currently being commissioned by Addison Project/Volker Stevin. The switchboard was also fitted with a 2000A interconnector circuit breaker to provide a connection to the future second aircraft carrier berth.  The tender for the second LV switchboard to provide dockside Auxiliary Supplies for the HMS Prince of Wales, the second vessel, will be issued in the summer of 2017.

The 65,000 tonne carriers will be in a short take off and vertical landing configuration, deploying the Lockheed Martin F-35B. The carriers will be capable of carrying up to 50 aircraft when fully loaded.  The carriers are sufficiently huge that the Solent had to be made deeper just to let them in.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has now arrived at her new home in Portsmouth following successful sea trials during the summer of 2017.  Once the operational warship is ready for duty she will be deployed in every ocean around the world over the next five decades.

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