Apache helicopters belonging to 4 Regiment Army Air Corps have landed on HMS Prince of Wales.

HMS Prince of Wales recently returned to Portsmouth to resupply.

The carrier also recently tested her three Phalanx guns as part of efforts to make the vessel operational.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“The Portsmouth-based warship has spent much of her first fortnight back at sea in the relatively sheltered waters of Lyme Bay conducting aviation trials with the RAF and Commando Helicopter Force.

The ship’s company has changed substantially since she last sailed in the spring of 2020 – and since her flight deck last welcomed helicopters, so it’s been a mix of brushing up on old skills and new experiences for a good number of sailors.

Those on the upper deck were treated to the impressive sight of a unique RAF Chinook, proudly sporting a Union Jack tail to celebrate its 40th anniversary in UK service, touching down. The Boeing-built helicopter entered service with the air force in November 1980 and has seen action in every major conflict involving the nation’s armed forces since.”

After the much-publicised first encounter at sea with her big sister HMS Queen Elizabeth, regular training resumed with Merlin helicopters of 824 Naval Air Squadron making use of the carrier to practise refuelling skills.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
86 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brom
Brom
13 days ago

How many apaches could POW potentially operate? I know it’s constantly debated as to using the carriers for helos but that’s potentially a hell of a lot of firepower against asymmetric threats

David
David
13 days ago
Reply to  Brom

However, although I believe this version is more navalised, would the carrier not have to be nearer shore for them to have effective loiter time?

Thus,
Cost of being fully fit for sea
Potential for carrier to be engaged by shore based missiles.

DRS
DRS
13 days ago
Reply to  David

Hence you want 1 extra phalanx (for depth of magazine at least and more redundancy) and sea ceptor batteries. I guess you could have containerised land ceptor push come to shove and also likely frigates to screen, but again it debts of defences.what happens if adversary launches a barrage of missles aka Gaza b’s iron dome. Admittedly a lot of those a unguided and would splash in sea but if I was opponent I would fire those and hide a guided one or two in the middle of them and then run before f35/Apache take me out. I guess you… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 days ago
Reply to  DRS

That’s why we use intelligence to gather all the intelligence before we commit. We don’t just rock up and hope for the best. TLAM or Storm Shadow strikes would happen first.

dan
dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

The RN needs to start arming their DDGs and FGs with a land attack missile. Having a few on an SSN isn’t going to do much if the RN had to operate without USN support. Either get a ship launched Storm Shadow or start arming the ships with TLAMs. Especially now that they don’t have a dedicated anti radar missile anymore. Need some way to knock down the enemies door without taking aircraft loses.

John Mayall
John Mayall
12 days ago
Reply to  dan

According to the recent defence review all front line ships will have a land attack capability, I doubt the OPV’s will though!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
13 days ago
Reply to  Brom

Hi Brom, Not sure to be honest, but quite a few if it was the sole type embarked. A balanced air wing would normally be a mix bag. So a commando helicopter force might consist of Apaches, Merlins and a few Chinooks. I agree with many on here that using a 65,000ton carrier close inshore is not a sensible thing to do especially if there is a risk of mobile anti ship missile batteries in the area. Having said that flexibility is a key feature of our armed forces, and as you rightly say the Apache is a very capable… Read more »

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

with the wildcat /Merlin not really having the fire power to support the marines in any intensive firefight, using Apache (navalised or not) is going to need to occur. In regards to distance from shore, I was wondering if you could place a bay or Albion closer to shore and use it as a refueling platform, whilst using the QE for maintainance etc, due to lack of hangers on the bay/albion. Not very vessel efficient but needs must and all that.

Last edited 13 days ago by Steve
andy a
andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The wilcat now cas .50 cal guns plus isnt it 20 martlets or sea venom. isnt that pretty good to give troops fire support? Or are these weapons only fitted to navy wildcats? if so thats a total waste of cash.

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

I asked the same question a few days ago. I read that marlet could attack land targets but have no idea if we spent the money required to implement that capability. .50 cal is useful for suppression of enemy troops, but wouldn’t be much use at countering reinforced structures or armoured vehicles etc.

DRS
DRS
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Martlet is laser guided I think so in principle should be able to attack anything, unless you are asking about fuse detonation timings. But boat v’s truck or building be the same sort of armour. Tank less so.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

As we have a JHC surely they can arm the AAC/FAA wildcats and Apache with the same ordnance. And with increased frequency that the JHC helicopter have been used on the carriers and support ships , they should navalise all the helicopters also they should take this into consideration when selecting the Puma replacement.

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  Nic

Considering they cut corners and didn’t install digital connection for wildcat sensors, I doubt they invested in potential weapon integration that were not going to be used.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Surely the Wildcat can be armed as a support helicopter.
It looks as if Apache will be deployed on carriers and support ships in future

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yes the US is jumping through hoops trying to determine how the Americas are best used in a similar role first deciding exclusive held delivery of marines then changing their minds then determining that they couldn’t operate in littoral waters as originally envisaged which increased the desire for F35 operations and no doubt hybrid air vehicles. I guess in the end only real world experience will determine what the real answers are but even that will be changeable. The progress of Technology somewhat unpredictably is certainly confusing matters.

Steve
Steve
12 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The Americas were designed before China was perceived as a big threat, and in a world where the US could just rock up anywhere in the world and dominate. It’s the same issue when it came to ship-to-ship missiles, with new ones having to be rushed into service. Even the carrier’s are questionable effectiveness against a peer, due to the sheer impact of losing one.

Saying that the US has been armed around deference through strength of power /optics, the carrier’s and America’s still bring that in spades

Pacman27
Pacman27
13 days ago
Reply to  Brom

A single carrier could accommodate the whole uk Apache fleet and have space.

the stated max for aircraft is 72+ (Jerry Kydd) and an Apache takes up a lot less space than an F35.

the stated capacity below deck is 24 F35 I believe.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
13 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Could we have a situation where we have both carriers in action?
One full of F-35 and one full of Apache’s as that could be a pretty awesome display of power.

Pacman27
Pacman27
13 days ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

I don’t think we HMG has the will to fill one carrier let alone 2. I do get very concerned about the volume of our combat air and rotary, as both are down c.50% on n7mbers just 15 years ago. I do think the future lies with a Karel doorman type ship with 6 helicopters and a load of CB90’s or 2/4 S2S connectors. i would be delighted if the RN /RFA ended up with 4 tides, 2 Solid stores and 8 multi role ships that use the KD and GLAM designs as their starting point. add in 4 FLO… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
12 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Ideally the RN needs a smallish stealthy strike ship to fit up to 6-8 helos like Apache’s or Wildcat’s for missions ashore.
The question is could The Karel doorman be built with a low profile superstructure?
I do like the deck size.

Last edited 12 days ago by Meirion X
Pacman27
Pacman27
12 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I don’t think the 2 requirements are compatible. I also think the KD deck is too big and would also build around the masts extending the helicopter / stores hanger more. With a 270’ joint flightco and stores viewing gallery. I think a KD type ship ( I like the ice breaking fore f the GLAM design) with 4-8 CB90’s and 2 Ship to Shore connectors, 6 Merlins or 4 Merlins and a Chinook would be a game changer, add in its stores capability and what else is such good VFM. It’s a bay on steroids.. i think we need… Read more »

andy a
andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Yes they have stated in a Falkland type situation they would aim to field both carriers for limited time. What we will fly of them is a different question

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

They would probably deploy armed. drones to supplement the aircraft that would be available .

Rob N
Rob N
13 days ago
Reply to  Brom

Hi, probably all of them! We will only have 50 AH64E so they should all fit.

PoW can carry 70 aircraft with a maximum war load.

Basra
Basra
13 days ago
Reply to  Brom

The QE class were envisaged to operate Apache from day one and figures were put at 40 suggesting she could do 70 in overload much the same as fixed wing assets.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Basra

If this is the case does the Queen Elizabeth have any on the present deployment.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Nic

No.
VFMA-211 (F-35B)
617 Sqn (F-35B)
820 NAS (Merlin)
845 NAS (Merlin)
815 NAS (Wildcat)
860 Sqn (NH90)
Honestly putting Apaches to sea for a long cruise should be avoided if it can be, they tend not to like the conditions.

Steve
Steve
13 days ago

I’m curious about the extra fuel tanks they appear to have. I assume they are drop tanks as you wouldn’t want to go into combat with a giant fuel tank under your belly.

TrevorH
TrevorH
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes… But curious, are they fuel tanks or floats?

Zeno
Zeno
13 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Bit like the Chinooks I suspect, not a marinised platform so they act as the flotation gear only when empty. https://robertsonfuelsystems.com/defense/reduced-size-crashworthy-external-fuel-system-rcefs/

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
13 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

They are drop tanks and they can carry 4. Some nice pictures on pinterest.co.uk.

Cheers CR

BB85
BB85
13 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Fuel tanks, apache can carry 4 for ferrying missions.

Paul.P
Paul.P
13 days ago

Is Apache qualified to carry Brimstone?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Good question it was demonstrated in 2016 on Apache which showed it as a ‘low risk’ upgrade, Brimstone 3 was proposed in 2018 for it but not sure what’s happened since though I know it gets mentioned on here from time to time but dammed if I can remember what the latest plan if any is. I suspect budget is the key factor. It seems to get proposed a lot, equally considered a lot by a lot of forces around the World from the US to India but rarely chosen due to what seems often politically motivated decisions preferring good… Read more »

RobW
RobW
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Test firings were conducted in 2016 but it is not yet qualified to carry them in service. An article in Aviation Week last week says that we opted for the AGM-179 JAGM instead. I can’t find another source though.

RobW
RobW
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

UK signs up for JAGM missile (janes.com)

Actually I can find another source. One assumes it is to do with the cost of integration and potentially moving our Apaches away from the baseline US models, thus increasing future upgrade costs.

Ron5
Ron5
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

One can assume a poor MoD decision. Supporting UK industry and commonality between the services should be high priority. Brimstone is also supposedly cheaper.

Paul.P
Paul.P
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Thx. The decision can only be that maintaining conformance with US platform has become a sacred cow. As Ron5 says Brimstone is cheaper. It is also a much longer range missile than JAGM and a candidate for anti ship use. Why else would you deploy Apache on the carriers? I thought we had already had the discussion about not using QE class as LPHs. Shouldn’t they be practising landings on the Bays/ LSS ?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Perhaps we’d base Apaches and Chinooks on a carrier for support reasons rather than have the support requirements, including manning, spread across a number of other smaller ships. Then use Albion-, Bay- and MRSS-classes as lily pads if required. Although any ship with a landing spot might support a lily pad function, such as T31 or T32, depending on what we want to do. Might then either carry troops on the carrier or on the lily pad vessels.

Paul.P
Paul.P
12 days ago

Yeh, fair point. I can see that

RobW
RobW
13 days ago

I have popcorn on standby awaiting the comments on an Ajax article, which must be coming given the news today.

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

I can’t wait 🙄 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

OK, I’ll start 🙂 Can’t travel safely more than 20mph; Can’t reverse over obstacles greater the 20cm; Crew can’t do more than 90minutes, require noise canceling headphones and ear tests; Problems with the tracks. To be honest the problems with the tracks could be the cause of most of the other issues, so it might all boil down to a single fix. Having said that there was a comment recently on another thread in which the poster had seen a video of a new armoured vehicle running its engine and it seemed very noisy. The poster may have been ex-military… Read more »

RobW
RobW
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Lets hope it does all boil down to simple fixes or this could get very costly. Mind boggling stuff though, surely General Dynamics knew about these issues before trying to fob them off to the MOD!

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

No fobbing going on

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

More a question of how the MOD /army didn’t spot it, after extensive testing that they did.

Jonny
Jonny
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Can the MOD get a discount because of the problems and delays?

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

OK, I’ll reply: The vehicle happily charges around at 42mph, the speed restriction is in place until NVH trials are complete. The vehicle can reverse over 60cm obstacles when driven correctly. ALL Armoured vehicles in the UK MOD require the use of noise cancelling headphones, they are standard issue to AFV crews. ALL military personnel who work on, around or in AFVs get hearing tests annually. Spragging of the tracks only occurs at walking speed on on high friction surfaces i.e dry concrete, it does not happen in the wet or cross country. Spragging is a nuisance on ALL tracked… Read more »

RobW
RobW
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

So you are saying the press reports are rubbish and that the issues are much more minor?

Dan
Dan
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Defence analyst Francis Tusa quoted this on Twitter from the report regarding Ajax: “Successful delivery of the programme to time, cost and quality appears to be unachievable. There are major issues which, at this stage, do not appear to be manageable or resolvable within the current Business Case approval. The programme needs to be re-baselined.”

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

Clearly not on time, it was meant to be in service a year or more ago

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

IOC (Initial Operating Capability) not “In service”.

Peter S
Peter S
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

If we had chosen the cv90 already fitted with a 40mm cannon, it could have been in service years ago. BAE even offered to set up a production facility in the UK. But it seems that the Nimrod shambles had made politicians wary of BAE.
AJAX has never made sense to me as a reconnaissance vehicle – too big, too noisy and too slow.
Both GD AND LM have performed so poorly (Crowsnest as well) that we should award them no future contracts.

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Big? Yes.
Noisy? No.
Slow? Hell no.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Even “big” is relative. It’s 7x3x3 which is towards the larger end of (but not the largest) Recce IFV in service with western armies.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Can we ever get it right when ordering military equipment.

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

That’s OK then, so long as Francis says so.

Dan
Dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

A childish response. He’s a defence analyst, and he was quoting what the official Ajax Gate 4 Report says.

Ian M
Ian M
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

Of course, you’re correct. Occasionally I let my facetious side out to play.

Dan
Dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

No worries. It can get frustrating watching the army trying to get some new kit into service.

Paul.P
Paul.P
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

Whoa, Twitter! Bound to be true then….🙃

Dan
Dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

DON’T YOU START! 😉

Paul.P
Paul.P
12 days ago
Reply to  Dan

☺️

Ian M.
Ian M.
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Hi Rob, my point is that there are facts hidden in amongst the headlines but not the lurid tales that are being reported. There is a perceived NVH issue that is being addressed but that needs to be put into context alongside the current AFVs that crews use on a day to day basis. A lot of the rest of it is pure speculation and hyperbolae.
cheers
Ian M.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

There’s a load of tinnitus reported from those testing it out, something the MoD is already denying has anything to do with Ajax… hmm. No proof of that, just 3rd hand info from lads on it.

Ian M
Ian M
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Hi Steve, not enough guys drive it for there to be “loads”. The in service headphones are an old design, I’ll leave it at that.
Cheers

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Hi Ian, yeah perhaps loads is an overstatement there. Interesting re: the headphones.

AV
AV
12 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Spot on Ian. As per often other people are using sensationanlised media stories or taking factual reports out of context in blinkered perspective without the knowledge to see the bigger picture…keep posting, great read.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

and even if you don’t work around AFV’s you still get a bi-annual hearing test, plus various pre and post deployment hearing tests. It’s almost like the Army takes hearing loss very seriously.  😯 

Mark
Mark
10 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

For give me but our great grandfather’s didn’t have the attitude of our snowflake generation when they got in the first tanks and helped turn ww1 and our grandads didn’t worry about a bit of noise and vibration when taking on a German tiger twice the size and armament of his Churchill tank. Maybe pandering to such creature comforts our forefathers could only dream is the reason why the MOD waste so much money and time in getting new kit into service.

James
James
13 days ago

What a waste of tax payer money by the useless MOD and silly military management. Using a carrier this size for amphibious activities would make a easy large target by small navies let alone big ones! It’s waste of resources and money . You guys can sugar coat it as much as you like but the truth is this carrier is not designed for that originally . Changing from catobar to vstol then to amphibious, where will this flip flopping end with tax payers money?? We need drone carriers for amphibious activities that’s the future ! Drones are harder to… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by James
RobW
RobW
13 days ago
Reply to  James

Has anyone suggested that we will be parking the carriers off the coast of a hostile state before we achieved air superiority? Just curious why you think the RN would do that. They wouldn’t have done that with HMS Ocean either.

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  RobW

We effectively did it with the carrier’s in the Falklands, but mainly because the harriers didn’t have the legs required for the carrier’s to be further out. Also even with air superiority, there will always be risks of land based missiles being fired at them.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
12 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Pretty sure we did just that with Ocean off Libya.

She launched numerous Apache sorties and strikes from offshore

RobW
RobW
12 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

She did but would you call that contested airspace?

George Allison
Admin
13 days ago
Reply to  James

“You guys”?

Sean
Sean
13 days ago
Reply to  James

The carriers were designed from the outset to be able to operate Apaches, Ospreys, etc. They’re also looking at segmenting the airborne assets with drones operating from the carriers, given how technology has advanced in recent years.
Perhaps some research would be an idea before jumping to conclusions and making an ill-informed rant?

Airborne
Airborne
13 days ago
Reply to  James

James we are all entitled to our opinion but I’m still a firm believer that having even an eeny weeny bit of subject matter knowledge goes a long way. Try it! You guys? Posters in this site? Or us in the UK? Mmmmmmmmmm……..

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  James

I mean it was origionally designed to be STOVL, not CATOBAR.
The CATOBAR thing was a brief diversion, quickly abandoned.

Grant
Grant
13 days ago

Wouldn’t the Apaches small combat radius (100nm) make them only useful off th3 carriers in a very permissive environment? For as awesome as the look didn’t Apaches off Ocean have a very low sortie rate (something like a quarter of what the Italian Navy achieved with harriers and the Giuseppe Garibaldi)

Still looks really cool 🙂

Steve
Steve
13 days ago
Reply to  Grant

It’s hard to get it the bottom of why we used Apaches off ocean when we also had tornados operating from friendly land based air bases. Same question to why the Italians uses their carrier. I would guess mainly for show of power from an Italian perspective and lack of available air frames for us.

Paul.P
Paul.P
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Probably so that David Cameron could go on TV to refer to Ocean as our ‘aircraft carrier’.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Well the Italian Aircraft Carriers are mainly intended to provide forward airbases within the Mediterranian rather than long range power projection. So it really fits with that.
As for the low sortie rate for Apache off Ocean, I imagine not being designed to operate at sea probably didn’t help the Apaches much.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago

If you had the fully armed WIldcats and the Apaches on board it would force to be reckoned with.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago

Given that a lot of helicopter work is being carried out with the Apache,Chinook,Merlins and wildcats ,I think that the Puma replacement should have capability to operate of Carriers and Helicopter capable ships.

dan
dan
13 days ago

Big negative about attack helos from a CV is the slow speed of the helos and limited range with full weapons load out. That means the CV needs to get closer to the target and that puts it in greater danger especially when going against near peer enemies.