The Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has this afternoon left the wall that has been her home for 21 months – and is making her way out to sea to begin her maiden sea trials.
The huge warship was widely expected to exit the construction dock at Rosyth in Scotland last week – however, tweets from the HMS Prince of Wales account show she finally set sail this afternoon.
“We are officially off the wall which has been our home for the last 21 months,” said a spokesperson on social media.
And, in a series of tweets, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance revealed HMS Prince of Wales was ready to depart on her maiden sea trials this afternoon – eight years after work on her construction first began.
However, the ships company been has been training in earnest for quite some time now – and yesterday they were in “high spirits during a crash on deck training exercise”.
“Even the ‘casualty’ was smiling!” said a spokesperson on twitter
Last month, Secretary of State for Defence Stuart Andrew confirmed Big Lizzie’s not so-little £3bn sisters hip – will begin sea trials later this year.
August was a busy month for the ship, with the first aviation serial being conducted in it Ops Room, and test run on its radars and important Air Traffic Control equipment.
The ship also fired up its engine and turned its shafts for the first time.
Then, on August 29, her crew finally packed their bags, left their shore based accommodation and moved onboard.
And September been just as busy – and as important. On September 6 the Prince passed its ship’s sanitation inspection and received the all important certificate from the Environmental Health Officer.
“This important document is a prerequisite to entering many ports around the world… Not long now until we’ll be needing it!” said a spokesperson on Twitter.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for HMS Prince Of Wales revealed it had taken eight hours to load vast quantities of provisions – including fresh vegetables, table salt, cereals, cooking oil, curry paste, cheese, milk, fruit, jam, crisps and mayonnaise – to keep her ship’s company fed.
The Royal Navy says: “HMS Prince of wales is one of the most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK.
for three football pitches – and she holds 45 days’ worth of food in stores.
“She will have a crew complement (minimum crew) of around 700, increasing to around 1,600 with aircraft onboard.
“HMS Prince of Wales’ size and scope is awe-inspiring – she can embark 36 F-35B and four Merlin Helicopters
“HMS Prince of Wales’ crew will have an expansive range of skills, so she will be able to meet the widest range of tasks around the world, including: Humanitarian relief, saving lives across the seven seas; High intensity warfighting; Fighting terrorism.”
“With an expected service life of up to 50 years, the floating cities of the Queen Elizabeth-class will be highly versatile and potent joint defence assets, able to meet the widest range of tasks around the world.
“We see these ships as maritime platforms, adaptable and powerful, ready to deliver carrier strike missions, enforce no-fly zones, deploy Royal Marine Commandos, deliver humanitarian aid, and build international partnerships.
“The ability to move 500 miles per day – combined with the speed and range of the F35 Lightning II – means these carriers can react at very short notice and make a real difference right around the globe. Find out all about how the Queen Elizabeth-class will equip us for the future here.”
Her crew has already been picked and a team from HMS Prince of Wales trained at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall earlier this year.
Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Jamie McNeil, HMS Prince of Wales’s Bosun, is in charge of the team of sailors, many of whom are relatively new to the Royal Navy.
Back in March, he said: “We’ve been together as a team for about four weeks as the ship has been crewing up generally.
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“Some of the team are just out of their specialist training while others have spent some time on our sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to gain some experience. This is a great training facility.
“We’ve been practising probe refuelling and a little bit of stores RASing.”
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