Visible milestone for UK aircraft carriers

The arrival on March 4 of the massive Goliath crane at Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard in the UK, where the new aircraft carriers are being constructed, is a visible milestone in the programme.

The Babcock says the enormous crane will be used to lift and place the carrier sub-blocks and components (including upper block and sponsons, bow block, islands, and aircraft lifts) without disrupting the dockside area adjacent to the ship. The blocks are being constructed at dockyards around Britain and shipped to Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard for final assembly and integration. The Goliath crane will be the largest in the Britain at a height of 68 metres to the underside of the main beams, with a span of 120 metres to cover the construction area of the new carriers at the yard. Its 1,000 tonne lifting capacity is provided by three hooks. The individual capacity of each provides a valuable degree of flexibility in lifting some awkward loads with difficult centres of gravity, and allows units or blocks to be turned over, up to a unit load of 500 tonnes.

A significant programme of civil engineering works has been undertaken at Babcock’s Rosyth yard to allow entry of the sub-blocks, assembly, and then departure of the completed vessels which, at 65,000 tonnes, 280 metres long, 74 metres wide and 56 metres high, will be the two largest warships ever to sail with the UK Royal Navy. The arrival of the Goliath crane at Rosyth from Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co Ltd (ZPMC) yard, where it was manufactured, also marks the first use of the newly widened direct entrance.


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