THE HMS Queen Elizabeth will be coming home to Rosyth after Babcock won a £5 million contract to carry out maintenance on the aircraft carrier.

The work on Britain's largest warship will sustain 100 jobs at its peak and will be carried out at the dockyard over a six-week period in the summer.

The news was welcomed by Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman, who said: “This is one of the announcements I’ve been waiting for as, not only does it protect jobs at Rosyth Dockyard, but also sets a valuable precedent which puts down a marker for future full-scale refits.

“There is no doubt that the workforce we have in West Fife is one of the most skilled in Scotland.

"They’ve constructed the two largest ships ever procured by the Royal Navy.

"It’s wholly appropriate that both ships return home to Rosyth for their refits.

"Rosyth is willing and ready to do the work and I am delighted that the UK Government agrees with that assessment.”

Lesley Laird, the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, said: "This is welcome news. I met with the unions late last year and appreciated how anxious they were to secure this maintenance contract.

“The fact is workers at Rosyth know the HMS Queen Elizabeth better than anyone; they built her.

"It makes absolute sense that she returns home where it is guaranteed the contract will be carried out to the highest standard by a workforce boasting world-class skills.”

The £5m contract will be the first planned dry-dock maintenance of the 65,000-tonne carrier and will include a hull survey and maintenance of her underwater systems.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Defence Minister Stuart Andrew.

He said: “After a phenomenal year of trials off the east coast of the US, this dry-docking contract is an important step for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she gears up for operations.

“The largest ship in our Royal Navy’s history, which was assembled in Rosyth, will now return for this multi-million-pound routine maintenance work as she gets set to represent Britain across the world for decades to come.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales were assembled in Rosyth in a £6.2 billion project carried out for the Ministry of Defence by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

A spokesperson for Babcock said: “We look forward to welcoming HMS Queen Elizabeth back to our facilities, where she was assembled, for her first docking and maintenance period. We continue to work closely with our MoD and Royal Navy customer on this national asset.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth will resume aviation trials later this year with F-35 fighter planes and is expected to enter operational service in 2020, prior to her first deployment in 2021.

HMS Prince of Wales is undergoing the final stages of construction at the Rosyth yard and was powered up for the first time in November. She is due to be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year.

Mr Chapman concluded: "Further down the line, we await UK decisions on Type 31 frigates and fleet support ships.

"Rosyth is in the mix to benefit from these contracts too.

"Again, I urge the minister to get on with coming to a decision on these contracts which would keep these valuable skills at Rosyth for a long time to come.”