Tag Archives: HMS Prince of Wales (R09)

Ahead of schedule

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) has been floated and moved to her fitting-out berth at Rosyth.

Britain's second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales afloat for the first time
Britain’s second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales afloat for the first time

In a delicate overnight operation, sluices were opened and water gradually filled the dry dock, specially enlarged for the 65,000-tonne warship and her older sister HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

She was then moved from her home for the past three years to the neighbouring basin and J and K berths, where her sister was fitted out before departing on sea trials during the summer.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: «This is an important moment in the monumental programme to build these two magnificent ships. I would like to thank the 10,000 people from across the UK who have helped us make such progress during 2017 on both HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales (R09)».

Crew and engineers from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance monitored the process throughout, while a flotilla of tugs moved the leviathan the short distance to her new berth.

«For me, seeing water surround the ship has really made it transform from being a ship in build to a ship preparing to go to sea», said Sub Lieutenant Freddie Spreckley, who’s just joined the ship as a marine engineer after completing his professional training at HMS Sultan in Gosport. I was privileged to be one of the last few people to walk underneath the ship before the sluices opened and flooded the dock. It was very exciting – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to be involved with this engineering milestone in the ship’s life and historic moment for the Royal Navy».

Captain Ian Groom, the carrier’s Senior Naval Officer, said that the effort made by teams from industry, the Ministry of Defence and the ship’s company to reach this milestone had been «immense».

He continued: «It has been a massive team effort and I am proud of every individual contribution. It is a fitting end to the Year of the Navy to have HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) commissioned and HMS Prince of Wales (R09) undocked and afloat for the first time. As the second of her class, HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is of strategic significance ensuring continuous carrier strike capability. Working as one team we are delivering an unmistakable sign of commitment to the defence of our great nation and that of our allies».

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is 3,000 tonnes heavier than her sister was at the same stage – as the second ship in the class, construction and fitting out has moved more swiftly thanks to the lessons learned building HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

Originally planned for 2018, the ‘undocking’ of the carrier took place ahead of schedule and just three months after the carrier was officially named by HRH the Duchess of Rothesay, as the Duchess of Cornwall is titled in Scotland.

The next milestone in the ship’s life will be the first running up of the generators and gas turbines, bringing the ship to life, which are earmarked for middle of 2018, followed by sea trials in 2019.

Second Carrier
Named in Rosyth

HMS Prince of Wales (R09), the second of the Royal Navy’s two future flagships being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, was officially named on September 8, 2017, during a ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland.

The Royal Navy's second new aircraft HMS Prince of Wales (R09) was named on September 8, 2017, in Rosyth (Crown Copyright)
The Royal Navy’s second new aircraft HMS Prince of Wales (R09) was named on September 8, 2017, in Rosyth (Crown Copyright)

The ship’s new sponsor, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Rothesay, followed Royal Navy tradition by triggering a bottle of 10-year-old whisky from the Laphroaig distillery in the Isle of Islay, smashing it against the ship’s hull.

This significant milestone comes just three weeks after the first aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) made her first entry into her home port of Portsmouth as part of her maiden sea trials programme.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, said: «HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is a prestigious name for what I’m sure will be a most prestigious ship. Today is yet another landmark in an incredibly busy year for the Royal Navy and shipbuilding. HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) has undergone her sea trials and arrived into Portsmouth, I have cut the steel on the new Type 26 frigates and we announced our ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy this week. Together these magnificent carriers will act as our statement to the world. By having two we will ensure the UK will be one of the few nations able to maintain a continuous carrier strike presence on the high seas to project our power across the world. The ship will be the eighth in the Royal Navy to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales (R09), honouring Britain’s history as a seafaring nation from the Sixth-Rate gun ship in 1693 to the ‘King George V’ Class Battleship that fought in World War II».

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: «The name HMS Prince of Wales (R09) represents many centuries of loyal service to Crown and Country, and its return to the Royal Navy today is a moment of great strategic significance for the United Kingdom. To build one carrier is a symbol of national ambition – but to build two is a sign of real commitment to our own security and to our international responsibilities. With two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers in Royal Navy service, one will be available for operations at all times. When paired with the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), they will provide our nation with a continuous Carrier Strike capability – a powerful conventional deterrent in a dangerous and uncertain world. I congratulate all those who have worked so hard over many years to make the Royal Navy’s carrier-led renaissance a reality».

Sir Simon Lister, Managing Director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: «Today’s naming ceremony is a significant moment in the life of the programme and for each and every person involved in the design and construction of HMS Prince of Wales (R09), one of the largest engineering projects in the UK today. The Nation has come together to build this magnificent ship which will in turn protect our Nation’s interests around the globe. HMS Prince of Wales (R09), along with her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), reflects the very best of British design and engineering capability and has created a once in a lifetime opportunity for highly skilled employees to be involved in an iconic programme. I am immensely proud to welcome The Royal Highnesses and our many other distinguished guests to Rosyth today».

With a crew of 679, HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is expected to carry out sea trials in 2019 before entering Royal Navy service.

There are also currently 150 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel continuing F-35B aircraft training in the United States. By the end of this year it is planned that the UK will have 14 of these fast jets, the World’s most sophisticated fighter, with initial flight trials from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) planned for 2018. With a crew of 679 HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is expected to carry out sea trials in 2019 before entering Royal Navy service.

Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox said: «The HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will do more than keep us safe and project British power across the globe. With home grown talent providing 90% of the suppliers for her and her sister ship, this aircraft carrier will also promote the strength of our shipbuilding sector. This achievement shows what a huge amount of exporting potential the sector has and, as an international economic department, we will continue to support businesses to export their goods and services, and attract the investment that creates and supports British jobs».

The final section

The second of the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, the Queen Elizabeth Class carrier HMS Prince of Wales (R09), was given the royal seal of approval when HRH The Prince of Wales, (or Duke of Rothesay as he is referred to in Scotland), visited Babcock’s Rosyth Facilities and signalled for the final section to be lowered into place.

HRH Prince Charles places the final section of HMS Prince of Wales (R09)
HRH Prince Charles places the final section of HMS Prince of Wales (R09)

The 570-tonne block – known as Sponson 11 – was the final section of the 918.6-foot-long/280-metre-long warship to be manufactured. In an historic moment, HRH Duke of Rothesay gave the order for the massive section, which includes part of the flight deck, to be lowered into place by the Goliath crane. This allows the final welding to start in order to make the carrier structurally complete.

Ian Booth, Managing Director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: «By the end of July we will have finished welding the final section together and the ship will be structurally complete, thanks to the commitment, skills and experience of the Alliance workforce. The team will now embark on the next phase of the ship’s construction. This involves extensive outfitting, testing and commissioning of her propulsion and mission systems, as the ship is brought to life. The ship will then start her harbour trials here in Rosyth before setting off for sea trials in 2019».

John Howie, Chief Executive – Marine & Technology Division, Babcock International, and a member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance’s Management Board, said: «This moment marks the end of eight years of manufacturing for the Queen Elizabeth Class programme at our six shipyards across the UK. I know I speak on behalf of more than 10,000 workers who have contributed to the design and build of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers when I say we are honoured to have HRH Duke of Rothesay here to mark this important occasion».

Captain Ian Groom MBE, Senior Naval Officer for HMS Prince of Wales (R09), said: «We were delighted to have HRH Duke of Rothesay here today to mark such a significant milestone in the life of the ship, drawing the construction phase of the Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier to a close. The focus now moves to commissioning the ship and my team will continue to work with their industry partners to bring her to life ahead of sea trials».

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will be delivered off contract in 2019.