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

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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About David Cenciotti 4450 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. 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

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

  2. 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


    • 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.)

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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

    • 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?


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