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Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin praises role in Ipswich-based Tex in new aircraft carriers

PUBLISHED: 15:05 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:05 23 November 2017

The first deck landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth, involving a pair of Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron. The 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will eventually be capable of operating up to 36 F-35 Lightening II jets and 14 helicopters, including Merlins and Chinooks. 
Picture: Ray Jones/ Crown Copyright

The first deck landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth, involving a pair of Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron. The 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will eventually be capable of operating up to 36 F-35 Lightening II jets and 14 helicopters, including Merlins and Chinooks. Picture: Ray Jones/ Crown Copyright

CROWN COPYRIGHT This image may be used for current news purposes only. It may not be used, reproduced or transmitted for any ot

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has paid a visit to a Suffolk company which has played a key role in the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.

The Flying Control Room (FLYCO) on HMS Queen Elizabeth. The glass panels for the control room were supplied by Tex Special Projects from Suffolk.
Picture: Crown CopyrightThe Flying Control Room (FLYCO) on HMS Queen Elizabeth. The glass panels for the control room were supplied by Tex Special Projects from Suffolk. Picture: Crown Copyright

Tex Special Projects, part of Tex Holdings, based at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, has designed the glass for the Flying Control Room (FLYCO) on board two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy.

The first of the vessels, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived back at her home base in Portsmouth this week ahead of being formally commissioned into the fleet by the Queen early next month.

The FLYCO is the hub from which air operations from the carrier, involving the UK’s new F-35 jets, will be directed.

The Minister met with employees and was shown a sample of Tex’s British designed Maxi-View Tempest glass.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin during her visit to Tex Special Projects at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.
Picture: Crown CopyrightDefence Minister Harriett Baldwin during her visit to Tex Special Projects at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich. Picture: Crown Copyright

The multi-layered laminated panels for the FLYCO are more than three meters high, making them the largest single panes of glass used on any Royal Navy vessel.

Harriett Baldwin said: “Soon our sailors will be watching, through these panes of glass, our F-35 fighter jets take off to defend our country. Our new aircraft carriers are a floating example of British industrial ingenuity and have helped to boost local businesses right up and down the UK.”

Chris Parker, managing director of Tex Special Projects, said: “Tex Holdings have long been involved in a variety of Ministry of Defence projects such as designing visual control rooms within air traffic control centres for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy air stations across the UK.

“For this project we had to design and overcome some very demanding technical challenges, delivering a near uninterrupted 290-degree field of view of the flight deck, which is unparalleled in any nation’s warships.”

He added: “We feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of this very prestigious capital project. For 12 years we have provided our technical expertise and supplied the FLYCO and all the ship’s windows, wipers and blades. Without the Queen Elizabeth Class programme the Special Projects Company would never have been formed, so we are extremely grateful for the exceptional opportunity it afforded us.”

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