Stunning graphics show UK’s future (twin-island) supercarriers

Jan 09 2013 - 13 Comments

Not as large as U.S. flattops but 280 meters in length hence longer than the London’s Palace of Westminster: this is the size of HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, UK’s Royal Navy future flagships.

The team behind the future aircraft carriers have produced a series of rendering whose aim is to demonstrate the scale of the carriers. To give a better idea of the size of the 65,000-tons leviathan, the artists put the HMS Queen Elizabeth, on the Thames next to the Palace of Westminster, and the HMS Prince of Wale,s at Victory Jetty in Portsmouth.

QE 2

Last summer, UK’s helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, currently Britain’s biggest warship, was docked on the Thames at Greenwich with several helicopters on board as part of the anti-terrorist effort put in place for the London Olympics.

The two aircraft carriers, that will host the F-35B (the Short Take Off Vertical Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter that will replace the Harrier “jump jet” untimely retired as a consequence of 2010’s spending review), are expected to enter service later this decade.

QE 1

Noteworthy, unlike any previous design, the new aircraft carrier will feature a twin-island on the flight deck.

QE 3

Image credit: Royal Navy / UK MoD

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  • Darthblunt420

    I think it is dumb to have 2 Island on an Aircraft Carriers cuz it take up more space that would otherwise could be more parking space for aircraft

    • Massimo

      Even using “because” instead of “cuz” takes more space, nevertheless the latter is much dumber.

  • Noah Rechtin

    In case anyone is wondering, the twin island design was invented to allow the navigation and flight operations facilities to be separate. This is because a navigation bridge works best in a forward position on the ship and a flight operations bridge works best in an after position.

    Here’s what I always thought was really funny about the twin island idea: Star Wars already did it! Side by side instead of forward and aft mind you, but still for the reason of separating the two different operations. Sci-Fi: 1 Real Life: 0


    • Noah Rechtin

      I just noticed that HMS Victory is in the background of the first image. Gotta love how they did that; it really provides perspective on how warships have grown and changed in the past 200 years…

      (BTW, HMS Victory is ~69 meters long overall if anyone wants to compare to the rest of the structures above.)

  • viulenz

    Does any of you know why they didn’t make them nuclear powered? sorry if it’s a dumb question but these carriers seem very big for conventional enjines.

    • Paul

      They are very large for conventional power, but at least they’re modern gas turbines. The only non-US nuclear powered carrier ever built, the French Charles De Gaulle, is smaller than the two new British ones. But I guess they just thought nuclear power was too expensive. The French have had a lot of trouble with that carrier.

  • FoilHatWearer

    What are they going to use, Monopoly money?

  • KyNavy

    The twin island design is not just for efficiency in flight and navigation. Survivability is increased with distributed command and radars and the 2 massive turbine engines are mounted in them. This mounting allows the engines to have the proper air intake without wasting interior volume for air ducts and keeps them safer from torpedoes, General survivability and efficiency is improved from turbine electric propulsion

    • marc aussure

      Hey KY very random question but as you answered the first one before i even aksed it i thought i’d try my luck.

      How do amphibious assault ship manage with the opening on the aft of their hull. I mean i m supposing there is some way to avoid flooding but ,say, in high seas big waves and so on how do they manage?


  • Plastic Fantastic


    > The two aircraft carriers, that will host the F-35B…

    Mr. Cenciotti bravely uses the grammar mode of statement here. However, there is no proof the trouble-prone VSTOL JSF will ever enter service! It is not reliable and not affordable for purchase and maintenance. If it ever did, the budget cost would sink QE like a fiscal cliff.

    The end result will likely be Rafale-Maritime or the Sea Gripen on-board as the Super Hornet looks too big to fit enough of them under-deck. The british-designed Sea Gripen variant of the BAE-designed Gripen is probably the affordable solution and some 36 could easily fit on-board even without folding wings. ETPS just loves the Gripen.

    Italy has been offered co-manufacturing of Gripen-NG with the swiss, in anticipation for the potential failure of the F-35 pyramid game. (The Boot Country needs next-gen jetplanes for the Cavour flat-top and to replace the returned F-16s, since twinjet Eurofighters are too expensive to operate and unreliable. Gripen can easily take a single EuroJet powerplant, as BAE originally designed her for that turbine.)

    A bankrupt country like Italy does not need the F-35 and Britain will also become bankrupt if ever receiving the F-35 … while the US military-industrial lobby and the chinese will laugh all the way to the bank! In contrast, Gripen has been always within contraced time and budget and the Rafale, while scary costly, at least delivers all the sharp teeth it promises (unlike the Eurofighter and the F-35).

    • darragh scully

      You’re right ofcourse. Reliability aside all of which can be fixed in time the advantages of having some F35’s are probably worth it. This is if they live up to the hype and can penetrate enemy areas that are heavily defended for example with out being detected, take out targets and then slip away.

      If you look at the figures below the US is in for a major financial shock which it can not really justify by the time 2040 comes around and all the SuperHornets and F16s are replaced with the F35. Presumably once the rolling production line roles out 1 per day that the cost of production will come down and the unit cost will be more in line with what was originally predicted, what do you think?

  • DNACowboy

    ‘Not as large as U.S. flattops’ (rolls eyes)