British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales led a task group to within 900 miles of the North Pole “to demonstrate the ability of the UK’s two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to operate in the harshest environmental conditions”.

The Royal Navy say here that the carrier was training with allies from NATO and the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, “having laid the foundations for Royal Navy carrier operations in the High North for the next half century”.

Captain Steve Higham, the carrier’s Commanding Officer, was quoted as saying:

“HMS Prince of Wales deploying in the High North has proved our ability to operate in the Arctic. I’m very proud of our ship’s company and their constant innovation in the face of extreme conditions.”

The Royal Navy add in a news release:

“Having acted as NATO command ship throughout Cold Response – the largest winter exercise hosted in Norway in more than 30 years – the carrier and her task group, including frigate HMS Richmond, destroyer HMS Defender, tankers RFA Tiderace and Tidesurge and a hunter-killer submarine remained in the North Atlantic to continue their Arctic deployment/cold weather operations under the banner of UK defence’s new policy of contributing to the wider defence of the High North, announced by the Secretary of State last month.”

The task group continued north to 77 Degrees – the same latitude as the Svalbard archipelago – with outside temperatures as low as -5 Celsius, lowered to 22 degrees below zero by the wind chill, you can read more about this from the Royal Navy here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Old Tony
Old Tony
5 days ago

However, PoW was operating without any F35B aircraft on board. Would that have made any difference to the ability to work in the far north ?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
5 days ago
Reply to  Old Tony

Possibly, I believe the F35b is cleared for ops in these conditions but the RN has not yet tested the F35b / QEC combination in the High North. I would suggest that this is in preparation for that eventuality. The RN is quite rightly doing things in baby steps, if you can call testing a 65,000 tons aircraft carrier a baby step 🙂 Step 1, test the carrier; step 2, put the F35b on board and repeat… They do this because an active flight deck is one of the most danagerous peace time working environments going and the RN is… Read more »

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier
4 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I agree. It makes sense not to have to many new things happening at once. This way when they go back with F-35, it’ll be with a ship crew that has experience.

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
5 days ago

Without aircraft she has no ability to do anything, not even defend herself. The joke made by the Russian admiral that our carriers just provide the Soviets with two big targets is no longer a joke. We must get on with the F35b orders. If not we might as well sell them and buy another block of SSN’s and load them with hypersonic missiles.

JohnH
JohnH
5 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Geoff, you may like to bear in mind these points:
1. Defence of the carriers is the role of her escorts.
2. She did have aircraft embarked to meet the aims of this expedition.
3. The rate of F-35B orders is limited due to the late availability of block IV.
4. UK SSN production is at capacity. You can’t just buy more.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  JohnH

Nicely summed up. I understand Geoffreys frustration but there are reasons for the slow buy rate.

They are a capability that if required is a well defended moving airfield to where HMG requires air power. And will get more F35 and just as importantly the UCAV types hopefully.

James
James
4 days ago

The reasons get brought up every single time a picture of the carriers is put on the website, but the same people continually copy and paste the same negative crap despite knowing the reasons why.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  JohnH

Common sense talking 👍🏻

Dern
Dern
5 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Interesting, didn’t know the Soviets considered 3 small 22,000t Carriers to be “Two big targets.”

russ
russ
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

What?? POW and QE are TWO 65000ton Carriers. Maybe you are thinking of the previous “Invincible” class or just trolling?

Louis
Louis
5 days ago
Reply to  russ

If you read the comment properly Geoff said it provided the Soviets with two big targets. It is clear that Dern is referring to the Invincible class as these were the most recent carriers in RN service before the collapse of the USSR.

Dern
Dern
5 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Yup, thank you.

russ
russ
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

👍

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago
Reply to  russ

Invincible class through deck Cruisers as laid down by the MOD to the Government of the day We can’t be spending money on Aircraft carriers .But Cruisers we can afford those rather sleight of hand

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I know but it’s even more ironic. Everyone knows about how an Army jealous of how high profile Carriers made the RN stuck the knife in but the Navies Cruiser lobby demanding new all singing all dancing and eye wateringly expensive Cruisers was the last straw for the then Govt and Treasury. The RN tried for both and we ended up with ‘Through deck Cruisers’

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Would they have looked good with X andY turrets rather than a stern Goalkeeper

David Steeper
David Steeper
4 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

😂😂

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago

It’s worse in the winter months though cold and darkness, at least there’s more hours of daylight and slightly warmer but all this has proved was she could sail north and vent party had too increase the Temp too keep the crew warm A blue Nose jolly if Flight weren’t embarked

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I hated going up there on FF’s. Vent heaters dry the air out and everyone gets a hacking cough. Working on the upper deck is a pain with maintenance like doing preps for firing etc can only be done in short bursts due to the temps.
On the plus side the plug bore gauge always passes!

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

When working Vent pty lads would say “its too Cold or too Hot can we have a happy medium ” My reply was “Doris Stokes” I’ll get my Coat

David Barry
David Barry
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

:))

Brooklyn
Brooklyn
4 days ago

Great

David
David
4 days ago

Rather than looking to the Pacific and Far East, I can’t help feeling that the UK’s defence effort should be addressed at Europe and the Arctic. Recent events suggest that Russia is a far greater and more immediate threat to the UK than China.

Frank62
Frank62
4 days ago
Reply to  David

I think the PRC could still be the greater threat as they’re much richer, better organised & a far larger population. They already have investments & projects across the globe, all with sinister strings attached & a single covert purpose. Their hostility to free, democratic countries is thinly disguised & they have waged a cyber war on us for decades. They wil be watching carefully to learn all the salient lessons from Russia’s mistakes & our weaknesses.

Wolf
Wolf
3 days ago
Reply to  David

I agree that Russia is still a threat but we need to understand the greater threat in the long term of the PRC under the CCP. China is corrupt and locking us and the west in general into its economy which is dangerous as each and every company is centralized into the Chinese government. China is threatening international law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, it is investing on infrastructure and ports in Asia and Africa threatening the territorial and political sovereignty of independent nations. With the US now slowly leaving leaving the Middle East, China will… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Wolf
David Barry
David Barry
3 days ago
Reply to  David

I’m mot sure that recent events have shown Russia to be a threat, rather a toothless, aged, tiger, with no claws.

China is the dragon in the room, and, those Type55s, … appear… to be the business.

Always Right
Always Right
31 minutes ago
Reply to  David Barry

Yeah the real business. Made in China, meaning ship/submarine hybrids.

Last edited 30 minutes ago by Always Right