HMS Prince of Wales Will Be ‘More Efficient’

The Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier will benefit from the lessons learned in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth, her captain has said.

HMS Prince of Wales is the second of the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, and one of the biggest warships ever built for the UK.

Project leaders believe lessons from the first ship will make sure HMS Prince of Wales is ready “swiftly”.

Captain Ian Groom said improvements have been made since HMS Queen Elizabeth started sea trials:

“We optimised systems and learned how things could be improved both in terms of the systems and also the order in which you build things to make it more efficient and we’re drawing those lessons into Prince of Wales so that we can build it as swiftly as possible to the highest quality.

“The reason we need two ships is to make sure that one is always available at very high readiness to provide choice to the government.

“That choice ranges from hard military power, delivering carrier strike, right down to humanitarian aid or promoting UK trade and industry.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is there now and once HMS Prince of Wales comes into service then the two ships will work side-by-side ensuring one is always available to be used and the second one will be at high readiness and conducting training and maintenance.

“The ships will leapfrog one another through those roles and that is what continuous carrier availability provides.”

The new aircraft carrier will be officially named by the Duchess of Cornwall at Rosyth Dockyard next week.

It might seem strange that Camilla will be christening the ship on the 8th September instead of Charles. However, traditionally the ship must be named by a woman.

Currently being fitted out in a dry dock in Rosyth, Scotland, HMS Prince of Wales will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019.

The ship is expected to be around 3,000 tonnes heavier than HMS Queen Elizabeth due to extra fittings in light of work on the first aircraft carrier.

Together with HMS Queen Elizabeth, the ships will be utilised by all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces and will provide eight acres of sovereign territory which can be deployed around the world.

Both ships will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The QE Class aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Previously, seven ships have been named after the heir to the throne from a French privateer captured in the late 17th Century to a battleship with a brief but eventful career.

The first Prince of Wales built for the Royal Navy was a 74-gun battleship which was frequently engaged with the French in the 1770s.

How were the new aircraft carriers built?

  • A 68-metre tall and 120-metre across special crane was commissioned for this project.
  • Six UK shipyards were involved, because no single one was large enough to build the ships in their entirety.
  • The Queen Elizabeth-class “Centre of Specialisation” has been built at Portsmouth Naval Base.
  • Over 250,000km of electrical cable and 8,000km of fibre optic cable were installed.
  • Around 3,000 people have been working on the ships in Rosyth, with another 8,000 people working at sites around the country.
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Author: Sir Godfrey Gregg

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