HMS Prince of Wales (R09)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Prince of Wales.
Construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth MOD 45157272.jpg
Bow bulb of HMS Prince of Wales at Rosyth, May 2014
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Prince of Wales
Namesake: Prince of Wales
Ordered: 20 May 2008
Builder: BAE Systems Surface Ships
Thales Group
Babcock Marine
Laid down: 26 May 2011[1]
Launched: 2017 (planned)
Commissioned: 2020[2] (planned)
Homeport: HMNB Portsmouth
Identification: Pennant number: R09
Deck code: P
IMO number: 4907907
Motto: Ich Dien ("I Serve")
Status: Under Construction[3]
Badge: HMS Prince of Wales ships crest.JPG
General characteristics
Class & type: Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 65,000 tonnes (64,000 long tons; 72,000 short tons)[4]
Length: 280 m (920 ft)[5]
Beam: 39 metres (waterline)
73 metres overall
Draught: 11 metres[6]
Decks: 16,000 square metres
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km)
Capacity: 1,600
Troops: 250
Complement: 679
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament: Phalanx CIWS
30mm guns and mini-guns to counter asymmetric threats.[7]
Aircraft carried:

Tailored air group of up to 40 aircraft:

Aviation facilities: Hangar below deck and two aircraft lifts.
Bow bulb of HMS Prince of Wales at Rosyth in May 2014, with sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth behind

HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier and the eighth ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. The distinctive two-island design is being assembled at Rosyth Dockyard from blocks built around the United Kingdom and will be commissioned in 2020 under current plans. Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) of 2010 she will be sold or mothballed after construction; a final decision on whether she will be sold, mothballed or commissioned will be taken in the 2015 SDSR.

After a flirtation with a catapult-launch design, it has been decided to fly Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft from her using a ski-jump ramp. Like her sister HMS Queen Elizabeth, she will be capable of carrying up to 40 F-35B Lightning II multirole aircraft but is expected to typically carry 12-24 F-35B and a selection of helicopters.

Design and construction[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are unique among world aircraft carriers in having two islands, the for'ard one housing the main bridge for ship control and the aft island is for air control.

The original 2008 design envisaged flying Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) jets from a ski-jump ramp. The 2010 SDSR called for the UK to buy conventional take-off F-35C jets and to convert Prince of Wales to a CATOBAR configuration, but this proved too expensive. So in May 2012 the Government announced that the (STOVL) F-35B variant would be purchased instead and the carrier will now be completed with a "ski-jump".[9]

The Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010 declared that the UK needed only one carrier, but penalty clauses in the contract meant that cancelling the second vessel was more expensive than building it. So the SDSR directed that the second carrier should be built and then either mothballed or sold.[10] More recently the RN's 2012/13 yearbook stated "both carriers are likely to be commissioned and may even be capable of operating together".[11] A final decision on the fate of the second carrier will be taken as part of the 2015 SDSR;[12] under current plans Prince of Wales will be commissioned in 2020.[2]

Prince of Wales is being assembled at Rosyth from 52 blocks built by six shipyards around the UK. Construction began on 26 May 2011 with the first steel being cut at Govan shipyard by Dr Liam Fox.[1]

Armament and aircraft[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth class can carry up to 40 Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II multirole jets, but a more likely airwing is 12 or 24 F-35B and a helicopter group of anti-submarine AW101 Merlins and troop transport helicopters.


The Queen Elizabeth-class carrier will be the eighth HMS Prince of Wales, named after the title traditionally granted to the heir apparent of the British monarch. The name was announced at the same time as her sister ship Queen Elizabeth. Controversy over the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal under the terms of the SDSR in 2010, and the subsequent loss of the name Ark Royal led to a campaign for one of the new aircraft carriers to receive it. In May 2011, reports surfaced that HRH The Prince of Wales had been approached by a senior Royal Navy officer on the subject of changing the name of Prince of Wales to Ark Royal, a matter that the Prince of Wales was reportedly "pretty relaxed" about.[13]


Once in service the ship will be officially affiliated with the city of Liverpool.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Steel cut on second super-carrier". Navy News. 
  2. ^ a b Maddox, David (23 March 2013). "600 Royal Navy personnel may be stationed at Rosyth". The Scotsman. 
  3. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 21 Nov 2011". HM Government. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Harris, Stephen (27 May 2014). "Your questions answered: HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier". The Engineer. 
  5. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Class". Royal Navy. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 21 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "Queen Elizabeth class: facts and figures". Royal Navy. 
  8. ^ "Fleet Air Arm: future aircraft". Royal Navy. 
  9. ^ "Defence Secretary Announces Decision on Jets for Navy’s Future Carriers". Royal Navy. May 10, 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (pdf), HM Government, October 2010, p. 23, ISBN 9780101794824 
  11. ^ "A Global Force 2012/13" (pdf). Royal Navy. 2013. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-906940-75-1. 
  12. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 May 2012, UK Parliament, 10 May 2012 
  13. ^ Harding, T (2 May 2011). "Prince Charles 'saves Ark Royal’". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 

External links[edit]