Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth Class

Prince of Wales

The second of the UK’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales (R09), has sailed for the first time on 19 September 2019.

Britain’s second new carrier sets sail

Eight years after she was laid down – and two after her sister HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) sailed from the very same site – the 65,000-tonne warship left the basin at Rosyth Dockyard on the Forth, ready to begin sea trials.

When she passes beneath the three iconic Forth crossings – lowering her main mast to do so – and strikes out into the North Sea, it means the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy will be at sea simultaneously.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) is currently in the North Atlantic preparing for operational training with UK F-35B Lightning II jets for the first time – paving the way for front-line duties by HMS Prince of Wales (R09) just a few years from now.

At present, the ship’s company – currently 600 strong – are focusing on a successful spell of sea trials, having prepared for months, gradually bringing the many systems, sensors and items of machinery from the galley to the main engines into life.

They are joined for the trials by a team of 320 civilian contractors to monitor how the 280-metre-long/919-foot-long leviathan performs and make any necessary adjustments.

Captain Darren Houston, HMS Prince of Wales’ Commanding Officer, said it had taken a monumental effort by sailors, shipwrights, engineers, electricians, scientists and designers to ready the nation’s most advanced warship for her debut at sea.

«I am immensely proud of the professionalism and determination that my ship’s company have shown in preparing themselves and their ship for this historic day. Whether through working alongside our industrial partners to support the build and commissioning of key systems or training tirelessly to operate the ship and work as a team, the crew have demonstrated unfaltering dedication and resolve in the face of a multitude of challenges. We are looking forward to sea trials and the opportunity to test our new ship before heading to our new home base of Portsmouth to join our sister ship».

Leading Physical Trainer Carl Stubbs joined HMS Prince of Wales (R09) in March 2018 and is delighted to see life buzzing through the ship.

«I am extremely excited to go to sea for the first time having seen the ship come together over the past 18 months from being an empty hull to a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier, complete with a fully-trained crew. We have been busy getting the four on board gyms stocked with equipment ready to keep our sailors fit during contractor sea trials and we will be running a full fitness programme for the crew whilst we are at sea».

Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, who took HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) to sea for the first time in the summer of 2017, understands the excitement aboard HMS Prince of Wales (R09) – and realises what her advent means for the UK and Royal Navy.

«I am delighted to see HMS Prince of Wales at sea – well done the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and her ship’s company», said Admiral Kyd. This is a hugely significant event for them but also for the Royal Navy and wider UK Defence. This means that, today, the Royal Navy has two aircraft carriers at sea – a powerful symbol of our government’s commitment to a strong defence and a global navy. I am hugely proud of the national effort, across so many industrial partners, Ministry of Defence and other agencies which has now delivered both of these magnificent ships that will sit at the heart of our defence for decades to come. I look forward to seeing HMS Prince of Wales (R09) arrive in her home port of Portsmouth soon and, in due course, Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy F-35B Lightning II jets flying from her deck».

Following her sea trials HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will sail for her Portsmouth where she is due to be formally commissioned in the presence of her Lady Sponsor, the Duchess of Cornwall, before the end of the year.

 

At a glance

Total displacement 65,000 tonnes
Total length 280 metres/919 feet
Sleeping bunks 1,600
Total range 10,000 nautical miles/11,508 miles/18,520 km

 

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.

Sea trials

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time since arriving at her home port in August.

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth for sea trials
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth for sea trials

The Royal Navy’s future flagship has embarked on the next set of sea trials to test the £3 billion ship’s capability.

Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base, Captain Bill Oliphant said: «HMS Queen Elizabeth has been in Portsmouth Naval Base for two months of planned maintenance to allow her to sail to complete her sea trials today. This period at sea will mark an extremely significant milestone in the life of the ship leading towards her acceptance into the Royal Navy at her commissioning later this year, back in her home port of Portsmouth».

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) is expected to be at sea for the next month and will be delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of the year; an exciting finale in 2017 – «The Year of the Navy».

Her first phase of sea trials, conducted earlier this year, demonstrated the platform stability and manoeuvrability. Commanding Officer Captain Jerry Kyd, said «She was stable and strong, which is important for aviation operations from an aircraft carrier flight deck. Very quickly we were able to run her at full power and she performed extremely well».

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time since arriving at her home port in August
HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time since arriving at her home port in August

The 65,000 tonne carrier is the biggest and most advanced warship to have ever been built by the Royal Navy and can accommodate up to 1,600 personnel, which would include a full air crew, but also provides space for embarked personnel such as Royal Marines.

The design, build and development of the Queen Elizabeth Class has been a truly national effort, involving every region in the UK.

Shipyards in six cities across the UK have constructed sections of the aircraft carriers and while many parts of the carrier arrived in Rosyth by road, the major sections needed to be transported by barge around the coast of the UK.

HMS Prince of Wales (R09), the second of the fleet’s new aircraft carriers, is in the final phases of construction in Rosyth Dockyard and is expected to be floated out of its giant dock next spring.

To date, construction of the two ships have devoured 51 million man hours – enough to keep one person occupied for more than 5,800 years.

This period at sea will mark an extremely significant milestone in the life of the ship leading towards her acceptance into the Royal Navy at her commissioning later this year, back in her home port of Portsmouth
This period at sea will mark an extremely significant milestone in the life of the ship leading towards her acceptance into the Royal Navy at her commissioning later this year, back in her home port of Portsmouth

Specialist center

A new center containing facilities to support the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is nearing completion at Portsmouth Naval Base. The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation will cover an area of 70,000 square meters – approximately the size of 10 football pitches. It will include a 7,000 square meter Forward Support Centre able to hold 15,000 pallets of medical, mail and naval stores under one roof, a café seating more than 500 people at any one time and a reception center for all those working on or visiting the carriers.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation works are nearing completion
The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation works are nearing completion

The center will house employees of Team Portsmouth, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, with engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff working alongside each other to plan and deliver the maintenance for these ships.

Mike Howarth, Managing Director for BAE Systems Maritime Services in Portsmouth, said: «At 65,000 tonnes the new carriers are the largest and most complex naval ships built in the UK. It’s essential that they have high quality facilities and highly skilled people to support them. This center will be the home not just for the carriers; it will also be home for the military and civilian people who support them. With improvements to the jetty and construction of a high voltage power station already in its final stages, you can now see that we are well on the way to being ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next year».

Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander, said: «The work on the Queen Elizabeth Class center is yet another tangible milestone in getting the Naval Base ready to support our new aircraft carriers. A huge amount of activity is in train ashore and in the harbour to make sure we are ready to receive HMS Queen Elizabeth. These are exciting times for the Naval Base and the wider Portsmouth area as we prepare for these huge ships which have secured the future of the base for the rest of the century. BAE Systems is working in partnership with the Royal Navy under the Team Portsmouth banner to improve the Queen Elizabeth Class Ships’ Company experience that the carrier’s crew will receive at the waterfront and provide the resources, information, material and facilities they will need in Portsmouth and on operations around the world».

Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, was at Portsmouth Naval Base to see the progress on the infrastructure works. He said: «This new Centre of Specialisation will ensure that our highly skilled engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff are well supported, and have the facilities they need as Portsmouth becomes the home of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers next year. Our £100 million investment in the naval base and the arrival of the carriers will support and sustain thousands of jobs across the region».

The creation of a dedicated area for the carriers forms part of the overall vision for Portsmouth Naval Base – four dedicated areas to support the ships based ships. The first of these dedicated areas was opened in 2015 as the Centre of Specialisation for Frigates and Destroyers, while work began on minehunter HMS Brocklesby (M33) in the new Small Ships Centre of Specialisation in early May.

Specialist center to support aircraft carriers takes shape
Specialist center to support aircraft carriers takes shape

Prince of Wales

The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is setting sail on April 24, 2015 from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth. Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the «Forward Island». As the main hub of the ship, it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.

Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679
Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679

Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the UK’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard».

The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde. Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the UK on a nine-day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth.

Construction of the Forward Island began in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.

The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers to use an innovative twin island design. The second «Aft Island» operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.

The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.

The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability.

A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members
A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members

 

Weapons and sensors

Mission systems complex

Artisan 3D medium range radar

S1850m long-range radar

Navigation radar

Highly mechanised weapon handling system

Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems

30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats

 

Mission capability

Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft

280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters

Aviation store

Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft

Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)

The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs
The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs

 

Propulsion

2 × Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines (36 MW/48,000 hp)

4 × Wartsila diesel generator sets (2× 9 MW/12,000 hp; 2 × 11 MW/ 15,000 hp)

2 × 33 tonne propellers

4 × advanced induction motors

 

Accommodation

Accommodation for 1,600 personnel

Dedicated accommodation and facilities for embarked forces

Hospital area incorporating eight bed medical suite, operating theatre and dental surgery

Recreational facilities including fitness suites and cinema

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020
The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020

 

Main dimensions

Displacement                                  65,000 tonnes

Length                                                 280 metres/918.63 feet

Maximum beam                             70 metres/229.66 feet

Crew size                                           679

Embarked forces up to              921

 

Performance

Top speed                                          25 knots/29 mph/46 km/h

Range                                                   10,000 NM/18,520 km

 

Delivering HMS Prince of Wales’ bridge