Royal Navy’s HMS Prince of Wales sails into Portsmouth for first time

18 November 2019 (Last Updated November 18th, 2019 13:25)

The British Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time.

Royal Navy’s HMS Prince of Wales sails into Portsmouth for first time
HMS Prince of Wales, the second of two aircraft carriers constructed for the navy, sails into Portsmouth. Credit: LPhot Rory Arnold.

The British Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time.

HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier constructed for the Royal Navy.

The vessel sailed into its new home base after completing first-stage sea trials in the North Sea.

The lead vessel in the class, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived at the Portsmouth base in August 2017. It is undergoing F-35 flight trials off the east coast of the US as part of the Westlant 19 deployment.

HMS Prince of Wales commanding officer captain Darren Houston said: “Our first entry to Portsmouth represents the successful culmination of the build and sea trials period in which my ship’s company and industry partners have worked so closely together to bring HMS Prince of Wales into service with the fleet.”

Prior to the arrival of the carrier, the yard at Portsmouth underwent modernisation work to accommodate the two largest ships to have ever been built for the navy.

The £30m project was completed in October and focused on upgrading the Victory Jetty.

BAE Systems stated that the arrival of HMS Prince of Wales at its home base marks a key milestone for the Queen Elizabeth Class programme.

BAE Systems chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “The arrival of HMS Prince of Wales into Portsmouth is an important moment for everyone at BAE Systems, our industrial partners and the thousands of people in the supply chain across the country who have worked so hard to deliver the two Queen Elizabeth Class carriers which will protect our national interests for decades to come.”

During the sea trials, a Merlin helicopter landed on the carrier, becoming the first aircraft to touch down on HMS Prince of Wales. The carrier also achieved other milestones, including hitting top speed during engine tests.

The ship is scheduled to be formally commissioned into the Royal Navy by the end of December.