After lengthy delays, the British government has signed contracts for the construction of two large aircraft carriers-the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Given the designation
CVF for aircraft carrier-future during their development, the new carriers will displace some 64,000 (long) tons full load compared to approximately 100,000 tons for the latest nuclear-propelled carriers of the U.S. Navy's Nimitz (CVN-68) class. The aircraft carriers will enable the Royal Navy to remain a major political-military force despite the recent reductions in the Navy's ships, aircraft, and submarines.1
The ships, to be named Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, are scheduled for completion in 2014 and 2016, respectively. BAE Systems is the prime contractor. The ships will operate conventional aircraft, which will make arrested landings and launch with a ski-ramp (rather than by catapults, as in U.S. carriers).