British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales arrived at Naval Station Mayport Wednesday morning.
This is the ship’s first visit to Naval Station Mayport, and it’s expected to be in port for five days.
Notably, her sister, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has previously visited the port.
HMS Prince of Wales will soon be operating off the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Planned trials revolve around cutting-edge technology, including F-35 Lightning stealth fighters, Osprey tilt-rotors, and the advanced Mojave drone.
— UK Military & Defence Staff in US (@UKdefUS) September 20, 2023
Commanding Officer Captain Richard Hewitt was quoted in a press release as saying:
“We are all excited for the longest deployment of HMS Prince of Wales. Being the first to operate with this level of drones will be a huge achievement and keep us on the front foot as we prepare for the next major Carrier Strike Group deployment in 2025.”
The ship will soon embark F-35B stealth fighters for the final phase of pushing the boundaries of the UK’s fifth-generation jets’ operating limits from the carrier.
“The F-35 has undergone extensive trials and assessment both in the US and UK operating from the flight decks of both Queen Elizabeth-class carriers and has deployed operationally. Pushing the boundaries will see more advanced take-off and landing techniques tested (SRVL, for one) , allowing the F-35s to return to the carrier faster and heavier (i.e with more fuel and weapons aboard) which cuts the time between sorties, allowing the ship to launch more strike missions, faster.”
HMS Prince of Wales will also be looking to launch and land the Lightning jets in the heaviest sea states, proving that they can operate the jets in the harshest environments.
“Once the work with the F-35s is complete, focus will shift again to the next-generation of Short Take-Off and Landing drones currently under development. The Mojave drone can carry a 1,500lb payload of missiles, rockets or bombs and has been specifically designed to land and take-off from short runways, or flight decks. Trials are lined up to see whether the Mojave can land on the 901ft-long deck of the Prince of Wales. The carrier’s stint Stateside will conclude by expanding the US Marine Corps’ unique tilt-rotor MV-22 Ospreys operating limits.”