Merlin helicopter performs inaugural landing on HMS Prince of Wales

24 September 2019 (Last Updated September 24th, 2019 12:50)

A Merlin Mk2 helicopter has landed on the deck of the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, becoming the first helicopter to achieve the feat.

Merlin helicopter performs inaugural landing on HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales’ first deck landing off the Scottish coast. Credit: Royal Navy.

A Merlin Mk2 helicopter has landed on the deck of the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, becoming the first helicopter to achieve the feat.

The landing of the first aircraft comes after the country’s newest aircraft carrier sailed out of Rosyth dockyard for the first time last week.

The £3.1bn HMS Prince of Wales is currently undergoing sea trials off the coast of Scotland.

The helicopter performed the landing and take-off six times to practise different problems and emergencies.

Air and ground crew and air traffic controllers participated in the inaugural landing.

It was directed by HMS Prince of Wales flying operations naval officer in charge commander air commander Phil Richardson.

Richardson said: “This deck landing represents the culmination of a hugely-successful HMS Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier programme.

“The ability to fly fast jets and helicopters from two fifth-generation Royal Navy aircraft carriers puts the UK at the very forefront of maritime aviation.”

The carrier was built at Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard in Fife and is the second Queen Elizabeth-class ship.

Before leaving for the sea trials, the vessel was involved in final training at anchor in the Forth.

The training was intended to prepare firefighting and emergency teams for the unlikely event of an aircraft crashing on deck.

HMS Prince of Wales will continue to undergo the initial period of sea trials over the next couple of months.

Once the trials are completed, it will arrive at its home base of Portsmouth for commissioning at the end of the year.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is in the US to conduct fighter jet trials as part of Westlant 19 exercises alongside the US Navy.