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.

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

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.

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.