In pictures: HMS Queen Elizabeth (the Royal Navy's largest ship) nears completion

Completed carrier will be amongst the second largest class of warships in the world

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The Independent Tech

New aerial pictures have been released by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, an aircraft carrier that will be the largest ship ever commissioned by the Royal Navy.

The new images show the 'aft section' attached to the ship at Babcock's Rosyth Dockyard - all that remains to be fitted are the two sponsons (flight deck extensions) and the 'ski jump' that gives aircrafts an extra boost on take-off.

When fully completed the HMS Queen Elizabeth will weigh 65,000 tonnes with a length of 280m (that's approximately the same as 33 London buses). With a crew of 679 and a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, the Queen Elizabeth will be able to scramble jets in minutes - moving fighters from the hangar to the flight deck in just 60 seconds.

It is one of a pair of carriers being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance - a consortium of manufacturers including BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock, and the UK Ministry of Defence. With a price-tag of £5.5bn the HMS Queen Elizabeth (and its twin the HMS Prince of Wales) will be the second biggest engineering product in the UK (the Olympics took the top spot).

The finished carriers will be the second largest in the world, behind America's 90,000 tonne Nimitz class supercarriers - the largest warships ever built with ten in active service.