Royal Navy – Queen Elizabeth-class Aircraft Carrier Cranes

SCX Special Projects supplied the illustrious HMS Queen Elizabeth & HMS Prince of Wales with a total of ten cranes of varying types.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carrier, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy and capable of carrying up to forty aircraft. HMS Prince of Wales is the second of the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

SCX Special Projects created three cranes and one ‘high-hat’ crane per ship for undertaking maintenance inside the Hangar and Workshop areas. In addition, one knuckle boom crane was supplied per ship for lifting a variety of materials to and from supply vessels onto the deck.

One of the cranes for HMS Queen Elizabeth in test

SCX Special Projects designed, manufactured and tested four 6.75m span cranes and two 8.1m span cranes which travel from bow to stern of the ships, plus two 2.8m span high-hat cranes specifically designed to maximise the available space and which run port to starboard. The Lloyds compliant cranes all have a SWL of 3 tonnes in sea states 1&2 and 1.5tonnes up to sea-state 6.

Rendering of high hat crane for HMS Queen Elizabeth

The high hat crane efficiently utilises the same components as the other cranes but reconfigured to allow the crane to run on predefined gantry beams but the hoist to travel outside these confines. The box-shape construction of the end carriages enables the low headroom hoist to traverse beyond the length of the beam.

Close up of an HMS Queen Elizabeth crane featuring rack and pinion

Anti-up-lift brackets as well as rack and pinion systems on both cross-travel and long-travel motions keep the cranes stable in the ocean environment.

The cranes are designed to withstand shock loadings, with an additionally strengthened section of the beam providing a stow-position to protect the hoist when required.

Crane inside HMS Queen Elizabeth

The cranes are prop-shaft driven from a central drive to ensure both end carriages move in synchronicity and inverter control ensures smooth movement in all directions. Brackets protect the prop-shafts from falling in the event of sudden shock impact to the ship. A festoon provides power on the cross-travel motions, but to avoid excessive motion in stronger sea-states, the long travel motion features a cable reeled power supply.

Infrared remote control for HMS Queen Elizabeth cranes

The cranes are operated via an infra-red remote control, as requested by the client, plus a plug-in maintenance pendant was provided as a back-up.

Load-monitoring sensors prevent overloading and slow-down limit switches protect the hoists before they approach full height of lift.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199