SCX engineering expertise called on for two new aircraft carriers

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH HOMECOMING HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to Portsmouth today after a landmark deployment to the United States. The aircraft carrier spent three months off the east coast, carrying out operational tests with UK F-35 Lightning jets. She has now returned to her home port – where she was greeted by sister ship HMS Prince of Wales. Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth Commodore Steve Moorhouse said: “Homecomings are always a special occasion, but to be returning to Portsmouth, with HMS Prince of Wales welcoming us home makes this a particularly special occasion.” Two of her escorts, frigate HMS Northumberland and tanker RFA Tideforce, returned to Devonport today. The ships’ flights also made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.

The engineering skills of Sheffield-based SCX Special Projects are in evidence aboard the Royal Navy’s largest ever warships.

The company, which specialises in mechanical handling solutions, designed and built ten bespoke cranes for the new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers. The two ships made their first public appearance together in Portsmouth harbour earlier this month.

It required the highest level of engineering expertise to ensure that the cranes can be operated reliably in all sailing conditions. The cranes – five on each ship – carry out tasks ranging from servicing helicopters, to loading and unloading munitions, to moving cargo around the hangar bay.

SCX Special Projects – part of the award-winning SCX group based in Wincobank, Sheffield – has an international reputation for delivering precise, reliable and safe systems for a wide range of lifting and mechanical handling applications.

Customers include the Nuclear and Defence sectors, Aerospace, Manufacturing and Stadia. Its two most high-profile contracts have been designing, engineering and installing retractable roofs for two courts at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon and the retractable grass pitch for the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

The company worked with BAE Ship Systems to supply the cranes for the two Queen Elizabeth-class warships, the largest to have ever been built for the Royal Navy.

The cranes and their control systems have been meticulously engineered to meet the most stringent crane codes and to the highest quality control standards.

SCX Special Projects was selected in part because it has the unique capability to engineer the entire project in-house. This includes all of the electrical and control elements, manufacturing, testing, right through to installation and commissioning the cranes on board the ships.

SCX Special Projects managing director Andy Whitworth said: “This is Sheffield-made engineering excellence in action. We create solutions to unusual and unique mechanical handling challenges, and the on-board sea-going cranes are a great example.

“In addition to the bespoke mechanical design of the cranes, we have engineers specialising in electrical, controls and safety, making sure that everything works exactly as the client expects. We are especially proud to have played our part in the launch of the Royal Navy’s biggest ever warships.”

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