HARTLEPOOL has played a significant role in the 12-year campaign to build the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Tata Steel supplied 500 tonnes of pipe from its plant in Brenda Road in Hartlepool for the 65,000-tonne vessel – the largest warship ever built in the UK.
All of it was rolled pipe which came from Hartlepool’s 22-inch mill, which is thought to have been used for everything from fuel to water pipes.
In all, Tata Steel has supplied 40,000 tonnes of steel and developed three entirely new grades of lighter and stronger steel specifically for the future flagship of the Royal Navy.
Phil Knowles, commercial manager at Tata Steel, said: “It has been fascinating to be part of such an exciting and high-profile project.
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy.
“Our teams have had to continually innovate throughout the process as technology and certain requirements have naturally developed since we became involved 12 years ago.”
The ship has been officially named at a ceremony attended by the Queen, Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, held at the Rosyth Dockyard, in Fife, where the ship was assembled and fitted out.
The queen oversaw the traditional naming ceremony by pressing a button to release a bottle of Islay malt whisky – suspended at the front of the ship – to smash on to the hull.
Mr Knowles added: “The naming ceremony is a huge milestone and we are extremely proud of what we have managed to achieve so far.”
The naming ceremony marked the first time in more than 15 years that the queen has christened a Royal Navy warship.
It comes five years after the first metal was cut on the vessel and 33 months after the first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth for construction to begin.
The ship and a second vessel, the under-construction HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. The two ships are known as Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA).
Those behind the project, which cost an estimated £6.2 billion overall, say the QE Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s naval capability.