The half-light of the pre-dawn in Portsmouth and the painstaking operation to move a giant segment of HMS Prince of Wales on to a waiting barge.
Comprised of cabins and machinery space, Lower Block 02 forms the distinctive forward hull section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier and was loaded out of the dock hall in Portsmouth this morning.
It took a huge remote-controlled transporter with no fewer than 2,304 wheels, to inch the section out of the shed where it was constructed at BAE Systems’ Portsmouth facility.
It’ll take another week to secure the 6,000-tonne block – home to a mix of machinery spaces and cabins for some of the ship’s company – on to the barge ready for the 600-mile journey to Rosyth.
Weather-permitting, that journey is due to begin on Tuesday and once arrived on the Forth, the block will eventually be floated off as the Aircraft Carrier Alliance team begin the complex task of piecing Prince of Wales together, just as they did with her older sister Queen Elizabeth.
Now the former has been moved out of dry dock for fitting out, work can begin joining the already-completed sections of the second 65,000-tonne carrier which have been delivered to Rosyth.