British Navy’s second HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier declared fully operational

According to information released by the British Royal Navy on October 1, 2021, after two years of intensive training for the British Navy’s second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, the ship is now declared fully operational and ready for deployment and operations. international missions.
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The British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales made its first stop overseas with a short stop in Gibraltar in June 2021. (Image source British Royal Navy)

This goal was achieved thanks to the crew of HMS Prince of Wales as well as the squadrons of the British Royal Navy and the RAF (Royal Air Force) which will operate planes from its cockpit – including the stealth fighter F -35 Fifth Generation Lightning – and the thousands of military and civilian personnel who support and maintain the company.

This means that the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales can join its sister HMS Queen Elizabeth on the world stage; the latter is now entering the second half of its first deployment at the head of an international carrier battle group in the Pacific.

The final act of preparing the new aircraft carrier for operations was participation in the UK’s largest military exercise this fall.

Thousands of service members from a dozen countries took part in the combined UK / NATO Joint Warrior / Dynamic Mariner exercise that ended yesterday, testing their capabilities individually and collectively to cope with global events.

More than 20 warships and submarines, as well as maritime patrol planes, helicopters and thousands of military personnel from a dozen countries are participating in this combined fortnight’s exercise.

Ten Royal Navy ships, as well as elements of four Fleet Air Arm squadrons (troop transport and spearfishing merlins, commando and anti-surface Wildcats and Hawk jets which decamped from Cornwall in Scotland), the Royal Marines of the 3rd Commando Brigade and the cannons of their support artillery regiment, 29 Commando RA, as well as senior staffs – approximately 2,000 men and women in all – represented the Senior Service.

The Prince of Wales and amphibious flagship HMS Albion led the RN participation, joined by frigates HMS Argyll and Lancaster – the latter fresh out of arctic operations – RFA tanker Tiderace, RFA support ship Mounts Bay, minehunter HMS Pembroke and a handful of P2000 patrol boats.

British Navy's second HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier declared fully operational 925 002
The HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier can carry up to 36 F-35 Lightning II fighters and 14 helicopters. (Image source British Royal Navy)

In addition to the operational validation of HMS Prince of Wales, Joint Warrior was used to refine the ongoing transformation of the Royal Marines into the Future Commando Force, capable of rapidly deploying raid forces when needed.

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier currently in service with the British Royal Navy. Construction of the aircraft carrier began in 2011 at Rosyth Dockyard and ended with launch on December 21, 2017. The completed Prince of Wales began sea trials in September 2019 and first arrived at her new HMNB Portsmouth home base in November 2019. The ship was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy during a ceremony in Portsmouth on December 10, 2019. It was declared fully operational on October 1, 2021.

HMS Prince of Wales has a length of 280 m, a beam of 39 m, a draft of 11 m and a displacement of 65,000 tons. It is powered by two Rolls-Royce Marine 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternators, supplying over 70MW, and four diesel engines, supplying approximately 40MW. The vessel can reach a top speed of 25 knots (46 km / h) with a maximum range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km)

Like HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Prince of Wales is designed to carry forty aircraft, a maximum of 36 F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and four Merlin helicopters. The hangars are designed for CH-47 Chinook operations without blade folding and for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, while the aircraft’s elevators can accommodate two Chinooks with blades unfolded. It has 9 decks below the flight deck.

For self-protection, HMS Prince of Wales is armed with three Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon Station), four 30mm DS30M Mk2 remote-controlled automatic cannons and six Miniguns.

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