TWO parts of the bow of a new aircraft carrier were floated out of Appledore Shipyard this morning.
The modules are part of the bow of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers.
They will travel by ocean-going barge to Rosyth, Scotland, where final assembly of both ships will take place.
The completion of the two modules — the bulbous bow, which is similar in size to the front of a submarine and the upper bow section — was celebrated at the shipyard last night with a fireworks display and a standing ovation from members of the Appledore workforce, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies MP, members of the Royal Navy and industry leaders.
Marine Engineer Fabrication Apprentice Aaron De Banks, 26, from Bideford said: "There is a massive sense of pride right across the whole yard in Appledore as we all feel like we are making our own little piece of history."
The modules weigh around 400 tonnes, which is equivalent to almost 40 double decker buses and when positioned end to end stretch over 50 metres in length.
Speaking after the float out ceremony Chief Executive of Babcock's Marine Division Archie Bethel said: "This is a hugely important day for the Babcock team in Appledore and Rosyth and all members of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.
"Our Devon workforce has been working tirelessly to ensure that this section of the Queen Elizabeth's hull was completed on time and to the highest possible standard."
Aircraft Carrier Alliance Programme Director Geoff Searle said: "The completion of the bow section of the first aircraft carrier is a huge achievement as it marks one of the first big milestones in the programme to build these ships for the UK Armed Forces.
"The sheer size and scale of both these modules on the barge is quite amazing, considering they will ultimately form one of the smaller sections of the first ship."