HMS Prince of Wales (R09)
HMS Prince of Wales, September 2019
|Name||HMS Prince of Wales|
|Namesake||HRH Prince of Wales|
|Ordered||20 May 2008|
|Builder||Aircraft Carrier Alliance|
|Launched||21 December 2017|
|Sponsored by||The Duchess of Cornwall|
|Christened||8 September 2017|
|Commissioned||10 December 2019|
|Motto||Ich Dien ("I Serve")|
|Status||In active service|
|Class and type||Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier|
|Displacement||65,000 tonnes (64,000 long tons; 72,000 short tons)|
|Length||284 m (932 ft)|
|Speed||25 knots (46 km/h)|
|Range||10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km)|
|Boats & landing |
|Sensors and |
HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. Unlike most large aircraft carriers, Prince of Wales is not fitted with catapults and arrestor wires, and is instead designed to operate STOVL aircraft; the ship is currently planned to carry up to 48 F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and Merlin helicopters for airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare, although in surge conditions the class is capable of supporting 70+ F-35B. The design emphasises flexibility, with accommodation for 250 Royal Marines and the ability to support them with attack helicopters and troop transports up to and larger than Chinook size.
The ship was initially planned to be either sold or mothballed due to budget cuts, but the government later decided to bring her into active service. Prince of Wales was formally named in September 2017.
The completed Prince of Wales began sea trials in September 2019 and first arrived at her new home base of HMNB Portsmouth in November 2019. The ship was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy at a ceremony in Portsmouth on 10 December 2019. The ship's commissioning date marked the 78th anniversary of the sinking of her predecessor, a World War II era battleship which was lost in action along with HMS Repulse in 1941. She is the eighth Royal Navy ship to have the name HMS Prince of Wales. Construction of the ship began in 2011 at Rosyth Dockyard and ended with launch on 21 December 2017. She was handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019. In May 2020, Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described as "minor". This was followed by more significant flooding in October 2020 which caused damage to her electrical cabling. Prince of Wales departed Portsmouth Naval Base on sea trials on 30 April 2021. In October 2021, the Royal Navy declared the ship as fully operational.
Design and construction
Much like her sister ship Queen Elizabeth, the original 2008 design of Prince of Wales envisaged flying F-35B Lightning II Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) jets from a ski-jump ramp. However, in May 2010, the government published its long-awaited Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which stated that Prince of Wales would be converted to a Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) configuration, operating the F-35C. An 18-month study commenced into the conversion but ultimately found that it would cause severe cost implications and delays. In May 2012, the government announced it would be reversing its decision to convert Prince of Wales and that the ship would be built to its original STOVL design.
The SDSR also stipulated that the UK only required one aircraft carrier, however penalty clauses in the contract meant that cancelling Prince of Wales would be more expensive than building her. Instead, the government planned to construct Prince of Wales and then either place her into extended readiness or have her sold to an ally. Contrary to this, in 2012, the Royal Navy published its annual yearbook, titled A Global Force 2012/13, which stated that both carriers are "likely to be commissioned and may even be capable of operating together".
Prince of Wales was 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 Defence Secretary Liam Fox. In September 2014, Prince of Wales reached a final assembly phase when hull blocks LB02 and LB03 were floated into 1 Dock of Rosyth dockyard, Scotland.
During the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Prince of Wales would be brought into active service, rather than sold off or mothballed. This was later confirmed in the government's 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
In April 2016, the ship was said to be around 80% structurally complete. On 1 September 2017 HMS Prince of Wales' most senior officer, Captain Ian Groom, confirmed that the carrier was now essential to fulfilling the Royal Navy's 'full carrier strike capability.'
Prince of Wales was formally named on 8 September 2017 at Rosyth dockyard by The Duchess of Rothesay, the wife of the current Prince of Wales. On 21 December 2017, Prince of Wales was floated out of Rosyth drydock #1 for the first time and manoeuvred to a nearby jetty for fitting-out and further systems integration. A Merlin Mk2 helicopter landed and took off six times on her flight deck on 23 September 2019.
The Prince of Wales was due to commence sea trials in 2019 with a view to being commissioned in late 2019. As such, the ship left the fitting out basin at Rosyth for the first time on 20 September 2019; initially she remained anchored in the Firth of Forth, undertaking initial engine and system tests, and waiting for the tide to allow her to pass under the bridges crossing the firth. HMS Prince of Wales sailed under the Firth of Forth bridges on 22 September 2019 and began sea trials.
On 16 November 2019, Prince of Wales arrived at her home base of Portsmouth for the first time, berthing at Princess Royal Jetty. The ship was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy at a ceremony in Portsmouth on 10 December 2019. She is expected to be fully ready for front-line duties around the globe from 2023.
In May 2020, Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described as "minor". This was followed by more significant flooding from the fire control system in October 2020 which caused damage to her electrical cabling. She was confined to docks where she remained for almost eight months whilst repairs are made. Her long-planned deployment to the United States to undertake her first F-35B trials was cancelled. During 2020 Prince of Wales had been at sea just 30 days, compared to 115 days for Queen Elizabeth. Following repair Prince of Wales departed Portsmouth Naval Base to resume sea trials on 30 April 2021. In October 2021, the Royal Navy declared the ship as fully operational.
The two ships of the Queen Elizabeth class are each expected to be capable of carrying forty aircraft, a maximum of 36 Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and four AgustaWestland Merlin helicopters. The 2010 SDSR anticipated the routine deployment of twelve F-35Bs, but a typical warload will be 24 F-35Bs and some helicopters. These could be a Maritime Force Protection package of nine anti-submarine Merlin HM2 and five Merlin Crowsnest for airborne early warning; alternatively a "littoral manoeuvre" package could potentially include a mix of Royal Navy Commando Helicopter Force Merlin HC4, AgustaWestland Wildcat AH1, RAF Boeing Chinook transports, and Army Air Corps AgustaWestland Apache AH.1 attack helicopters. As of September 2013[update] six landing spots are planned, but the deck could be marked out for the operation of ten medium helicopters at once, allowing the lift of a company of 250 troops. The hangars are designed for CH-47 Chinook operations without blade folding and for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, whilst the aircraft lifts can accommodate two Chinooks with unfolded blades.
Passenger/crew transfer boats
The two ships of the Queen Elizabeth class will each carry four PTBs made by Blyth-based company Alnmaritec. Each 13.1 m (43 ft) long PTB carries 36 passengers and two crew to operate the vessel and is davit-launched. To enable the craft to fit into the docking area the navigation and radar masts are fitted with Linak actuators so that they can be lowered automatically from the command console. The enclosed cabin is heated and there is a set of heads forward.
Defensive weapons include the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence and Miniguns for use against fast attack craft. The 30mm Automated Small Calibre Guns are fitted for but not with, and not carried as of 2021.
Replica bell from predecessor
In spring 2019, Merseyside shipbuilder Cammell Laird, who built the ship's predecessor, the King George V-class battleship HMS Prince of Wales (53), and also built sections for both the current ship and HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), was commissioned to make a replica of the predecessor's bell for the current ship. The original, raised in 2002 and currently residing at the National Museum of the Royal Navy location at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, was surveyed as part of the process.
Cammell Laird were able to contact Utley Offshore in St Helens, the foundry that made both the original bell and RMS Titanic's bell, who still had the original pattern based on the 1908 Admiralty design. Compared to the bronze or bell metal that is used in most modern ship bells, specially sourced nickel silver was used for authenticity. The engraving was done by Shawcross in Birkenhead, while Cammell Laird shipwrights constructed the hardwood base. Cammell Laird COO Tony Graham presented the finished replica to commanding officer Captain Darren Houston during the ship's week-long visit to Liverpool in March 2020.
The Queen Elizabeth-class carrier is 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 that of her sister ship Queen Elizabeth.
After being declared fully operational in October 2021, the Prince of Wales participated in an international exercise off the coast of Scotland. This involved joint operations with her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth.
NATO command ship
On 1 January 2022, Prince of Wales took over the role of command ship for NATO's maritime high readiness force from the French navy. The ship will spend the next twelve months supporting NATO exercises in the Arctic, Baltic and Mediterranean. Her first exercise in this role was Cold Response 22, a Norwegian-led exercise which is designed to test her crew in this role. Later in the year, she will turn over the role to Turkey.
- Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
- Welsh Guards
- The Royal Lancers
- No. 27 Squadron RAF
- RNRMC and Greenwich Hospital
- The ship carries the battle honours earned by its predecessors.
- Thomas, David A. (1998). Battles and Honours of the Royal Navy (Kindle ed.). Barnsley, S. Yorkshire: Leo Cooper. ISBN 978-1-78383-294-1.
- "Commissioning day for HMS Prince of Wales". Royal Navy. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- Mohan-Hickson, Matthew (2 September 2020). "How did HMS Prince of Wales get her name? Cost, captain, crew size and where Royal Navy aircraft carrier was built". The News.
- "Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF)". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
- "Aircraft carriers: Queen Elizabeth class". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- "Future ships: Queen Elizabeth class". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- Royal Navy: A Global Force 2012/13 (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-906940-75-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2014.
- "What will the Queen Elizabeth class carriers carry?". UK Defence Journal. 6 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
- Hankins, Andrew (19 March 2017). "Replacing the Invincibles: Inside the Royal Navy's controversial £6.2 billion warships". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
- "Fleet Air Arm: future aircraft". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Close-in defence for the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers". NavyLookout.com. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- "Queen Elizabeth class: facts and figures". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "UK aircraft carrier Prince of Wales to go into service". BBC News. 5 September 2014. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
- "Second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales named by Duchess of Rothesay". BBC News. 8 September 2017. Archived from the original on 8 May 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "HMS Prince of Wales makes Portsmouth debut". Royal Navy. 16 November 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- "Iconic structure is installed on HMS Prince of Wales". Royal Navy. 13 January 2016. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- Cotterill, Tom (7 December 2020). "Navy's new £3.2bn carrier stranded in Portsmouth for six months after second flood". The News. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
- Knuckey, James (30 April 2021). "HMS Prince of Wales: Carrier Returns To Sea After Repairs". Forces.net. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- "The HMS Prince of Wales is NATO's Newest Aircraft Carrier". The National Interest. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
- "Fleet Solid Support Ships: Procurement". Hansard. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
- "Defence Secretary Announces Decision on Jets for Navy's Future Carriers". Royal Navy. 10 May 2012. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- "Cats, traps and claptrap. Why the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers operate VSTOL aircraft". Save the Royal Navy. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (PDF). HM Government. October 2010. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-10179-482-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2010.
- Royal Navy: A Global Force 2012/13 (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 2013. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-906940-75-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2014.
- "Steel cut on second super-carrier". Navy News. 26 May 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Queen Elizabeth Class - Construction". Pymes75. 12 September 2014.
- "National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015" (PDF). HM Government. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- "Aircraft Carriers:Written question – 33852". HM Government. 20 April 2016. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- Ripley, Tim (1 September 2017). "Royal Navy considers two carriers essential for F-35 trials". Janes Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "HMS Prince of Wales floats out". Aircraft Carrier Alliance. 21 December 2017. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Allison, George (21 December 2017). "HMS Prince of Wales floated out of dry dock in Rosyth". UK Defence Journal. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "First aircraft lands on HMS Prince of Wales". Royal Navy. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
- Maddox, David (23 March 2013). "600 Royal Navy personnel may be stationed at Rosyth". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 25 March 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Britain's second carrier sets sail for sea trials". UK Ministry of Defence. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "New aircraft carrier set to make maiden voyage". BBC News. 20 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Clark, Leeza (22 September 2019). "Naval flagship heads under the Forth bridges to start sea trials". The Courier.
- "HMS Prince of Wales: Navy ship arrives in Portsmouth". BBC News. 16 November 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- "Aircraft Carrier HMS Prince of Wales Arrives in Liverpool". Royal Navy. 28 February 2020.
- Cotterill, Tom (7 December 2020). "Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales stranded in Portsmouth for six months after second flood". The News. Portsmouth. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
- Hope, Christopher (2 January 2021). "Exclusive: Leaky HMS Prince of Wales spends fewer than 90 days at sea in two years". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
- Adams, Christopher (25 July 2007). "MoD gives nod for aircraft carriers". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Osborne, Anthony (11 September 2013). "U.K. Royal Navy Widening Scope of Carrier Use". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- Osborne, Anthony (30 August 2013). "U.K. Builds Fleet of Modernized Chinooks". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- "ALN 139 'PTB Buccaneer - HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier'". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- "80th Anniversary of ships' bells". National Museum of the Royal Navy. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Cammell Laird Presents Replica of Historic Prince of Wales Bell to Crew of Britain's Newest Aircraft Carrier". Cammell Laird. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- Harding, Thomas (2 May 2011). "Prince Charles 'saves Ark Royal'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "HMS Prince of Wales ready for global missions as international exercise ends off Scotland". Royal Navy. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
- Allison, George (12 January 2022). "British carrier sails from Portsmouth to undertake role as NATO flagship". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
- ""Pride, passion and purpose" as Royal Navy takes on key NATO mission". www.royalnavy.mod.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
- "Prince of Wales". Royal Navy.