1. ITV Report

New home for aircraft carriers nears completion

What the North Corner of Portsmouth Naval Base will look like

A huge new centre at Portsmouth Naval Base that will support the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is nearing completion.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation will become the new home for the carriers next year.

It will cover an area the size of 10 football pitches. Workers have spent many months strengthening the centuries-old jetty, building a new sub-station and creating space for hundreds of staff and 15,000 pallets of medical, mail and naval stores.

The centre will include a café seating more than 500 people at any one time and a reception centre for those working on or visiting the carriers.

At 65,000 tonnes the new carriers are the largest and most complex naval ships built in the UK. It’s essential that they have high quality facilities and highly skilled people to support them.

This centre will be the home not just for the carriers; it will also be home for the military and civilian people who support them. With improvements to the jetty and construction of a high voltage power station already in its final stages, you can now see that we are well on the way to being ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next year.

– Mike Howarth, Managing Director for BAE Systems Maritime Services

Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans says the £100 million investment in the naval base and the arrival of the carriers will support and sustain thousands of jobs across the region.

Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander, explains why he thinks the new carriers are important for the Royal Navy:

Commodore Rigby says the main objective of the carriers would be to "project our influence overseas”. But at a cost of more than £6 billion, some feel it's an unnecessary expense. Critics argue that the main threat to Britain’s security is violent terrorism, so strategically, aircraft carriers are not the way forward and could be vulnerable to the kinds of threats Britain may face in the future.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to arrive in Portsmouth next Spring.