Client: Babcock Marine

Project Name: UB07 Block Lift

Project Overview

Babcock Marine procured the contract to design and build two new military aircraft carriers: the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. Both of the carriers had to be built and developed from Babcock Marine’s Rosyth dockyard. The construction and assembly of the Royal Navy’s carriers made up one of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious engineering projects. Work on the carriers is taking place in Scotland and worth c £1.3bn. The project employs more than 2000 staff who are based in Rosyth, Fife.


Through a competitive bidding process, Lifting Projects UK secured the contract to supply the site with specialist lifting equipment.

As part of the project, we had to provide four large modular spreader beams and associated heavy lifting wires, plus shackles to allow Babcock Marine to successfully lift the 700 tonne ‘forward island’ onto the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, using a large overhead crane. The ‘forward island’ houses the bridge where the captain and navigation crew operate. It was built in Portsmouth and transported by barge to Rosyth where the aircraft carrier was being assembled.

Lifting Projects UK provided a unique 600 tonne x 17.5m modular spreader beam – the only one of its kind in the UK. We also provided 2 x 400 tonne modular spreader beams (1 x 13m and 1 x 12m) and a slightly smaller 260 tonne x 10m modular spreader beam to complete the project. All the beams were fortified with suitable heavy wire rope slings and sling saver wide bodied AB shackles.

Our Approach

Having studied the complexity of the projected lift, Lifting Projects UK carried out trial rigs off-site at one of our northern England branches. We used large cranes to simulate both the ‘starboard’ and ‘portside’ assemblies and this involved continuous communication with our client to ensure the smooth delivery of the project when it took place on-site in Rosyth.

We used an innovative colour coded identification system created especially for the project. This included a portfolio of photographic images to be used as reference on-site. To ensure a seamless experience, we maintained the segregation of the colour coding equipment once it was delivered on-site.

Due to the project’s success, we were called upon for a repeat supply, in addition to two other contracts to supply very similar heavy lifting equipment. Our latest contract uses dyneema slings which allowed the client to improve the tool underhook weight while enhancing on-site handling time due to the sheer weight reductions of the slings.

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