Royal Navy’s Second Aircraft Carrier Makes Debut at Sea

Royal Navy’s second giant aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, left the Rosyth Dockyard on the Forth to start sea trials.

Passing under Forth’s three iconic crossings, which will have to lower the main mast and out into the North Sea, means that the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy will be at sea simultaneously.

Following her sea trials, HMS Prince of Wales (R 09) will sail to Portsmouth, where it will be formally commissioned in the presence of its Godmother, the Duchess of Cornwall, before the end of the year.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the lead ship in the class, is currently in the North Atlantic preparing for operational training with UK F-35B Lightning jets for the first time – paving the way for front-line duties by Prince of Wales in the future.

Specifications : 

Class and type:Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier
Displacement:65,000 tonnes (64,000 long tons; 72,000 short tons)
Length:280 m (920 ft)
  • 39 m (128 ft)(waterline)
  • 73 m (240 ft) overall
Draught:11 metres
Decks:16,000 square metres
Speed:25 knots (46 km/h)
Range:10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • S1850M long range radar
  • Type 997 Artisan 3D medium range radar
  • Ultra Electronics Series 2500 Electro Optical System (EOS)
  • Glide Path Camera (GPC)
  • Phalanx CIWS
  • 30 mm multiple barrel rotating cannon to counter asymmetric threats.
Aircraft carried:
  • Current planned Carrier Air Wing of up to 40 aircraft
  • (50 full load – can be expanded to 70+):
    • F-35 Lightning II
    • Chinook CH47
    • Apache AH64
    • Merlin HM2 and HC4
    • Wildcat HMA2 and AH1
    • Maritime Airborne Surveillance Capability (MASC) – Airborne Early Warning aircraft
Aviation facilities:
  • Hangar below deck
  • Two aircraft lifts
  • Ski jump