NORTH-EAST steel has helped build the UK’s largest ever warship.

Tata Steel, which has plants across the region, supplied 40,000 tonnes of steel for the £6.2bn HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Bosses say 3,500 thousand tonnes of steel from its factory in Skinningrove, east Cleveland, and 250 tonnes of pipework from its Hartlepool pipe mill have been used on the 65,000-tonne carrier.

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The majority of Skinningrove’s steel forms bulb flats, which are joining strips used to weld plates together on the vessel.

The warship was officially named by the Queen yesterday (Friday, July 4), who smashed a bottle of whisky on its hull at the Rosyth dockyard, in Scotland.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is longer than the Houses of Parliament and can carry up to 40 jets and helicopters at a time.

Phil Knowles, Tata Steel’s commercial manager, said: “It has been fascinating to be part of such an exciting and high-profile project.

“Our teams have had to continually innovate throughout the process as technology and certain requirements have naturally developed since we became involved 12 years ago.

“The naming ceremony is a huge milestone and we are extremely proud of what we have managed to achieve.”

He added Tata will supply parts for the UK’s next giant carrier, the £3bn HMS Prince of Wales.

The firm, which employs about 1,500 North-East workers, also developed lighter steel to aid the carrier’s fuel economy and improve its agility.

Its sister sites made steel for the ship’s hull and its 130-tonne flight deck ramp section, allowing larger aircraft to take-off.

Tata’s Skinningrove factory also provides steel for earthmover track shoes, with its Hartlepool plant previously winning a contract to supply 214 miles of gas pipes for a project under the Keathley Canyon seas, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Its Teesside beam mill, in Redcar, rolls and finishes construction steel sections.

Earlier this week, company bosses said potential job cuts in Wales will not affect its North-East plants.

The company has revealed plans to axe 400 posts at Port Talbot, where it makes steel coil for the car industry.

The new aircraft carrier also provided work for Gateshead-based industrial coating firm Pyeroy.

The company applied protective paint to the forward navigation bridge.