HMS Queen Elizabeth
CROWDS cheered when The Princess Royal cut the first steel for Britain's biggest ever aircraft carrier last Tuesday.
The ceremony was to mark the start of £5 billion construction work for two monster Royal Navy (RN) aircraft carriers on the Clyde at Govan.
Princess Anne performed the 'steel cut' on the main hull of the HMS Queen Elizabeth at the BVT shipyard.
She was guided by Scott Ballingal, a 21-year-old BVT apprentice from Erskine who will be working on the carriers.
Then the princess pushed the button to start a computer guided laser that cut the first piece of steel for the hull of the massive ship.
Scott is one of 70 new apprentices - many from Glasgow - who have been taken on by BVT to support work on the carrier. The work has secured thousands of jobs on the Clyde, though there were doubts about the yard's future upon completion.
Leaked documents from BVT showed a plan to close some yards in the UK after the carriers are built.
The government has insisted the Scottish yards have enough work to secure their future for 15 years.
Recent alarm over possible large scale redundancies was calmed when shipyard bosses said they were close to signing a contract to build 18 new Royal Navy frigates - guaranteeing 15 years more work for BVT shipyards. HMS Queen Elizabeth and the second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, will be the biggest to enter RN service.
The Govan yard is to fabricate much of the hull, the deck support and the propulsion system, with propellers weighing 33 tonnes each.
Work on the vessels will also take place at Portsmouth, Devonport and Tyneside before being assembled at Rosyth in Fife.
Each vessel is the size of the QE2 ocean liner and each can carry 40 aircraft.
Hms Queen Elizabeth will come into service in 2014, followed by the HMS Prince of Wales in 2016.