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THE BIGGEST CARRIERS EVER; JUST THE JOBS.

Byline: By TOM LATCHEM

THE Royal Navy's new 65,000-tonne monster aircraft carriers will be THREE TIMES larger than any current British carrier.

They will be able to transport up to 1,450 personnel, 36 joint strike fighters and four airborne early warning aircraft.

From keel to masthead they will be six metres taller than Nelson's Column.

The two bronze propellers on each vessel each weight 33 tonnes, while the anchors are a mighty 13 tonnes - almost as heavy as a double decker bus.

Even their names - HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth - loom large in the fleet's proud seafaring history. HMS Prince of Wales is the eighth to take the name since the first in the late 17th century.

The third was commissioned in 1770 in response to a dispute with Spain over ownership of the Falkland Islands.

The fourth HMS Prince of Wales saw extensive action in the Napoleonic Wars and the sixth served in the bloody Dardanelles Campaign of the First World War.

But the best known is the seventh and most recent Prince of Wales because of her role in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941.

She was hit several times but managed to inflict enough damage on the Bismarck to allow other British ships to destroy her.

Until now only one vessel named HMS Queen Elizabeth has served with the Royal Navy but there have been many named Elizabeth in service from 1514 onwards.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of a new class of "super-Dreadnoughts", was launched in October 1913 and served in both World Wars. She was scrapped in 1948.

Each of the two ships might cost as much as pounds 1.5billion, typically crewed by 1,200 sailors including 600 aircrew

The future carriers will be 65,000 tonnes three times as heavy as the current fleet. It puts them between the 100,000 tonne US Nimitz class and the French Charles De Gaulle at 43,000 tonnes

Maximum speed is 25 knots with a range of 10,000 nautical miles. It holds enough food for seven days before taking on fresh supplies

The carriers have three runways, ranging up to 260metres long. It will carry 38 aircraft, probably the F35B fighter capable of Short Takeoff Vertical Landing using the ramp. Merlin Helicopters and surveillance aircraft will also be onboard

HERMES: 1919

Weight: 11,085 tons

Speed: 25 knots (46km/h)

Range: 6,000nm at 18 knots

Planes: 15

Crew: 700

ARK ROYAL: 1938

Weight: 22,000 tons

Speed: 31 knots (57km/h)

Range: 7,600nm at 20 knots

Planes: 60-72

Crew: 1,600

ARK ROYAL: 1970

Weight: 36,800 tons

Speed: 31.5 knots (58km/h)

Range: 11,265km at 14 knots

Planes: 79

Crew: 2,250

ILLUSTRIOUS: 1970

Weight: 20,600 tons

Speed: 28 knots (58km/h)

Range: 9,300km at 18 knots

Planes: Varies

Crew: 1,051

CAPTION(S):

HERMES; ARK ROYAL; ARK ROYAL; ILLUSTRIOUS; BOAT-IFUL: Carrier being built at Rosyth
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 26, 2007
Words:497
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