HMS Prince of Wales to sail within the next 12 months


The builders are hoping HMS Prince of Wales will be leaving Rosyth dockyard for sea trials this time next year.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance are confident she will be ready for sea trials by November 2019.

Sir Simon Lister of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance said the ship is physically complete.

“We’re now at that stage of fitting out all the equipment inside the ship. Wiring it up, plumbing it up, and setting all that equipment to work. One of the powerful things about this contact is that any budgetary over-run is shared between the industry and government, so there is a very strong pressure to get this done at minimum cost to the taxpayer and companies,” he said.

It’s our objective to finish this programme on time and as close to budget as we can.”

People I spoke to on-board the vessel on my last visit told me that building HMS Prince of Wales has been “20% to 25%” faster than building its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth. When on HMS Queen Elizabeth two years ago, we were told that the build of HMS Prince of Wales was expected to be around 8 months quicker thanks to “lessons learned” in the build process.

The builders are already applying lessons from including improvements to the process of preparing its heat-resistant flight deck and installing an improved F-35 landing light systems earlier in the build process.

Recently, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance has successfully handed over the HMS Prince of Wales Navigation Bridge to the Royal Navy, a milestone originally planned for March 2019.

According to a news release:

“In the spring of 2018, we took the decision to bring this milestone forward, and since then the production team lead by Harry McCluskey and Mike Ballantine have worked tirelessly with multiple trades to bring this compartment up to the standard required for CCI. The Navigation Bridge is where the ship is commanded. When HMS Prince of Wales goes to sea, the bridge will be manned by the Ship’s Company and will include an Officer of the Watch aided by several Able Seaman acting as lookouts. The ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Moorhouse and his Navigator will also be present on the bridge.”

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance say that the bridge was completed on time through collaborative work between multiple trades including, Babcock production, Balfour Beatty, Ticon, the Mission Systems IPT and Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine.

HMS Prince of Wales is also expected to take over F-35 trials to allow HMS Queen Elizabeth to return to dock for her routine re-certification work.

Former Captain of the vessel Ian Groom told media that HMS Prince of Wales will need to be delivered during 2019 to allow flight trails to continue whilst Queen Elizabeth is undergoing inspection in dry dock.

HMS Prince of Wales to sail within the next 12 months