HMS Prince of Wales, the second of two aircraft carriers designed and constructed for the Royal Navy, has sailed into her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time.
This marks an important and proud milestone for everyone who has worked on the Queen Elizabeth Class programme across the UK. Hundreds of people, including industry employees, Royal Navy personnel and their families, gathered along the Portsmouth shoreline to welcome the ship to her new home, following the successful completion of her first stage sea trials nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
The ship’s arrival into Portsmouth represents the culmination of 16 years of work by the ACA – a unique alliancing relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence. More than 10,000 people across the UK have been involved in the programme to deliver the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with six British shipbuilding yards across the country playing a vital role in the ships’ design and construction.
Designed to test the carrier’s capability, HMS Prince of Wales and her ship’s company have accomplished a number of trials and ‘firsts’ over the past nine weeks at sea, including the landing of a Merlin Mk2 and a test of her engines at full power. The sea trials programme tested all 158 essential systems on the ship which includes power and propulsion, radars, communications and essential hotel and platform services.
More than £100m has been spent updating and enhancing the facilities at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Portsmouth, including an upgrade to the Princess Royal Jetty which will be home to both carriers. A new Combined Heat and Power facility has also been established to deliver power to the carriers, increase energy resilience and reduce the carbon footprint of the Base. Made up of three natural gas generators, at full load, the facility can produce enough energy to power 28,000 homes.
Sir Simon Lister, Managing Director, Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: “Today is an important day for our employees and the Royal Navy. Delivering next generation naval capability of this complexity is not only a proud moment for our employees but also showcases the industrial capability within the UK.
“This programme has brought together the best of British imagination, ingenuity and invention and I am extremely proud of our teams who have shown relentless drive, energy and a continued focus on ensuring we deliver the very best for the Royal Navy.”
image © BAE Systems
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