The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the £3.1billion HMS Prince of Wales, sailed into its base at Portsmouth for the first time today.
The 65,000-tonne warship dwarfed the surrounding buildings as it arrived at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour, Hampshire, and was welcomed by a fly-past of two Hawk jets and a Wildcat helicopter.
Shipping lanes were closed and an air exclusion zone put in place as part of security measures for the arrival.
The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the £3.1billion HMS Prince of Wales, sailed into its base at Portsmouth for the first time after passing rigorous sea trial tests (pictured)
Sailors lined the flight deck (pictured) as the £3.1billion carrier approached the dedicated Princess Royal jetty at the naval base in Portsmouth Harbour, Hampshire
The 65,000-tonne warship dwarfed the surrounding buildings (pictured) as it returned from eight weeks of rigorous sea trials
Sailors lined the flight deck as the £3.1billion carrier approached the dedicated Princess Royal jetty at the naval base.
Commanding officer Captain Darren Houston said: ‘Our first entry to Portsmouth represents the successful culmination of the build and sea trials period in which my ship’s company and industry partners have worked so closely together to bring HMS Prince of Wales into service with the fleet.
‘I am extremely proud of them and their families for their perseverance, patience and extraordinary efforts.’
Air engineering technician Ben Daniels, one of the 600-strong crew on board along with 300 contractors, said: ‘I feel immensely proud to be a member of HMS Prince of Wales’s ship’s company while the ship is heading into its home port for the first time.
‘It is a historic moment for the Royal Navy and I am looking forward to many years of service on this incredible ship.’
Hundreds of people lined the sea walls to see the ship on its arrival with many holding placards that read: ‘Welcome Home’
The carrier left Rosyth dockyard in Fife, eastern Scotland, where it was built in September. Pictured: Members of the crew lined the tiers of the warship as it sailed in
Shipping lanes were closed and an air exclusion zone put in place as part of security measures ready for the arrival of the HMS Prince Of Wales
The £3.1 billion warship left Rosyth dockyard in Scotland, where it was built, in September before undergoing eight weeks of sea trials. Here crew members wander along the empty lanes during the highly anticipated arrival
The carrier left Rosyth dockyard in Fife, eastern Scotland, where it was built in September before undergoing eight weeks of sea trials ahead of its arrival in Portsmouth.
A Navy spokesman said: ‘During the trials, the first aircraft touched down on the flight deck, as a Merlin helicopter was guided safely into land, before the ship then hit top speed as she tested her engines to the max.
‘Following a brief pit stop in Invergordon (northern Scotland), HMS Prince of Wales was tested in heavier seas to see how she handles in challenging weather.
‘The carrier faced waves up to 20ft high and carved through them relatively untroubled.’
HMS Prince of Wales is set to be formally commissioned before the end of the year. Pictured: Sailors lining the flight deck of the British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier
Shipping lanes were closed and an air exclusion zone put in place as part of security measures for the arrival of the aircraft. The welcome included a fly-past of two Hawk jets and a Wildcat helicopter, today
Overall, six shipyards around the UK – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne – have been involved in building various parts of the HMS Prince Of Wales (pictured) and its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth
The carrier’s sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is also based at Portsmouth but is currently on a visit to the USA to undergo trials of the F35 Lightning jet fighters ahead of its first operational deployment planned for 2021.
Major upgrade work has been carried out at the jetties at Portsmouth so the two giant ships can berth next to each other.
During their 50-year service, the two 280-metre long aircraft carriers can be pressed into action for various work such as high intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
They have been built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) – a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence.
Overall, six shipyards around the UK – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne – have been involved in building various parts of the carriers.
HMS Prince of Wales is set to be formally commissioned before the end of the year.
State-of-the-art warship will go to sea with 66,000 bangers on board (and 12,000 tins of beans)
- The design of the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers began in 1999 and the ships are expected to have a 50-year service life.
- The carriers can travel in excess of 25 knots per hour, have a range of 10,000 nautical miles and they are designed for deployments typically lasting nine months.
- Each ship can keep 45 days’ worth of food in their stores and a typical deployment would sail with 66,000 sausages, 28,800 rashers of bacon, 64,800 eggs and 12,000 tins of beans.
- The ships have 67 catering staff and have their own bakery which can produce 1,000 loaves of bread per day.
- Each flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long, which is enough space for four jumbo jets.
- The ships are 56m from keel to masthead which is six metres taller than Nelson’s Column, and each ship has 17 decks and 15 lifts.
- Each ship can operate on a crew of 679, which, despite the ships’ size, is fewer crew members than for the Invincible class aircraft carriers that they replace.
- Each ship 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.
- HMS Queen Elizabeth’s home berth, Sheer Jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base, has been in use since the 1600s and sits opposite HMS Victory, the world’s oldest commissioned warship.
- The ships will fly the F35-B fighter jets – which can fly at 1.6 mach – as well as any type of helicopter used by the UK armed forces.
- Each ship will be able to fly 72 fast jet sorties per day, which can be increased further for limited periods.
- It takes 60 seconds to lift four aircraft from the hangar to the flight deck on each of the two lifts and the ski-jumps that are used for take-off are 6m high.
- Each ship will sail with an escort vessel, such as a Type 45 destroyer, which takes the lead in engaging threats.
- Each ship generates 80MW of power in their propellers, which is equal to 50 high speed trains.
- The fog horn is 162 decibels and can be heard from more than two miles away.
- The ships have their own police office and cells as well as their own dentist, pharmacy, surgery and operating theatre, fitness suites and cinemas.
- Each ship can convert sea water into more than 500 tonnes of drinking water each day, which is for both the crew and providing humanitarian relief.
- Each ship is made up of 17 million parts and there are more than 250,000km of electrical cable and 8,000km of fibre optic cable inside each of the ships.
- There are also 364,000 metres of pipes inside each of the ships, which could stretch from Rosyth to Wales.