Navy aircraft carriers will go into service later to save costs but £35m construction deal not affected

The company helping build the dock to take two massive Royal Navy aircraft carriers, BAM Nuttall, has said that the delay to when they come into service will not affect its contract.

Defence secretary John Hutton said yesterday that one carrier will come into service 12 months later than planned and the other two years later, as part of an effort to cut spiralling Ministry of Defence costs. Both were originally due to be in service by 2016.

BAM Nuttall, the sister company of BAM, the renamed HBG, is building the dock at Rosyth dockyard near Edinburgh for Babcock Marine under a £35m deal.

Its deal is due to finish in October 2010, and a spokesman said: “We're well advanced with the contract and work will carry on to its conclusion.”

The new carriers, called HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will each weigh 65,000 tonnes and measure 284m long, 74m wide and 56m high.