A CLYDE shipyard apprentice has cut the steel for a giant block which will form part of a new aircraft carrier.
Lindsay Gray fired up a hi-tech plasma cutting machine at the Govan yard, a year after the same task was carried out by then Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
The 27-year-old third-year apprentice said: "I feel really honoured to cut the first steel for Lower Block 04 and contribute to the build of the carriers."
And today her shipyard colleagues began working on the block which will eventually weigh more than a destroyer.
It will form part of the hull of a new aircraft carrier, will be the height of a four-storey tenement and will stretch almost the length of a football pitch.
It will be the second such block created from sheets of steel and worked on at Glasgow's Scotstoun and Govan yards which are owned by BAE Systems.
The company is part of an alliance comprising Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence which was launched by the last Labour Government to build two aircraft carriers.
Costing billions of pounds, the 65,000-tonne vessels will be Britain's biggest warships and will be constructed in sections at yards across the UK before being taken to Rosyth for final assembly. One steel block has already been taken by barge from the Clyde to the Fife yard while another giant steel structure is about to embark on the same journey by sea.
Both these blocks will be used on the Queen Elizabeth carrier.
Last summer Mr Fox cut the first steel to start work on a smaller block which will eventually be fitted to the second carrier, Prince of Wales.
The latest batch of cut steel will form the fourth and last block which will house two of that ship's main engine rooms, a medical area and accommodation.
The Lower Block 04 section is expected to take up to two years to complete.