The British government Thursday signed contracts worth 3.2 billion pounds (6.4 billion dollars) for the construction of two new aircraft carriers - the biggest in the history of the Royal Navy, reported dpa.
The 280-metre-long HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft. Their construction will create or secure 10,000 jobs at shipyards across Britain.
Defence Secretary Des Browne said the vessels were needed to launch military strikes and help in humanitarian operations. HMS Queen Elizabeth will come into service in 2014 and HMS Prince of Wales in 2016.
Each ship will be a similar size to the ocean liner, the QE2, with a flight deck the size of three football pitches. This will make them more than three times the size of the existing Invincible-class carriers.