BAE Ship Systems & Royal Navy – Queen Elizabeth-class Aircraft Carrier Cranes

Aerospace, Nuclear & Defence

The Challenge

The new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are the latest and largest addition to the Royal Navy’s arsenal. Numerous tasks on-board the ship require overhead cranes, including servicing Chinook helicopters and handling various supplies in the ship’s workshop and on deck.

BAE Ship Systems oversaw the ship fit-out and contracted SCX Special Projects to design and install bespoke cranes on each of the two new carriers.

The Solution

Ten bespoke cranes were designed and built to serve a variety of lifting and handling purposes. By customising machinery from our sister company Street Crane, we created innovative cranes to meet the challenge of safe lifting on a ship at sea.

Keeping the cranes operational in rough seas with up to 20-foot waves required us to engineer unique mechanical, electrical and safety solutions, while maximising reliability and availability.

Safe lifting at sea

  • 3 overhead gantry cranes span the ship’s workshop, travelling bow to stern at up to 10m/min
  • Captive design with anti-uplift brackets, propshaft rack-and-pinion drives and reeled power cables ensure reliable and safe lifting in rough seas
  • 3-tonne safe working load up to sea state 2, reducing to 1.5-tonne SWL up to sea state 6


Bespoke underslung crane system

  • Design allows the hoist to reach areas beyond the confines of the main long travel rails
  • A deck-mounted, foldable, telescopic knuckle boom crane gives exceptional reach and flexibility
  • Special consideration is given to all materials, fixings, maintenance and controls to maximise durability, reliability and ease of operation


Performance and safety through design

  • Engineered to absorb shock via reinforced docking areas to  securely lock hoists in place in extremely rough conditions
  • Variable speed drive control systems with slowdown limits ensure accuracy and safety
  • Lloyds Register certified design, supported by calculations, documentation and comprehensive acceptance testing



Let's talk more about high integrity cranes

The defence sector demands high levels of safety, integrity, and reliability from equipment that operates in some of the most challenging conditions.

We have decades of experience in engineering systems that perform vital, hazardous, and complex handling procedures - and importantly, they do it safely. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

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

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199