656 Squadron and their Apache attack helicopters have joined HMS Prince of Wales for her sea trials.

This is the first time the ship has worked with Apache helicopters.

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 and her Carrier Strike Group and a brief stopover in portsmouth, sea trials have now resumed. 

The aircraft carrier was previously alongside in Portsmouth for just over one year. In May 2020, HMS Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described (at the time) as minor but this was followed by more significant flooding in October 2020 which caused damage to her electrical cabling. The nwo repaired damage was so bad that the ship was unable to sail to America for fixed-wing aircraft trials.

The Royal Navy say that the carrier will shortly head to the south west coast for an intensive period of trials and training, establishing her lethality and ability to sustain operations.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
35 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
9 days ago

Good stuff…the more kit we can make deck friendly for the carriers the better.

Steve
Steve
9 days ago

I wonder if it’s practical to convert a Chinook into a helicopter refueling platform.

farouk
farouk
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Funny you should mention refueling the Yanks have just released this video of its Carrier based UAV refueling program carrying out its first successful refuel:

https://twitter.com/NAVAIRNews/status/1401872894993518602?s=20

captain p wash
captain p wash
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

For Refueling Choppers yes but obviously not for the F35’s…….

Steve
Steve
9 days ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Refueling the f35s is probably something out of our budget ability, but refueling chinook/wildcat/merlin to give the marines more flexibility might be possible.

Nic
Nic
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I dont think we have any choppers in JHC that can be refueled air to air .

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Refueling the F35s is a game changer for the carriers. The extra funds required would therefore be a game changer for the carriers. In that light, it’s too good of value for money to not get them.

Whether it ends up being a catapult-assisted drone or V-22 (or similar STOVL), I bet plans are in the works.

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

We know the RN/MOD is looking at options, but looking at options and actually ordering anything are two different things. Ultimately the f35b has a much longer range than the harrier and we never created any form of air-to-air refueling options for the invisible.

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

True. But we now live in an era of long range anti-ship cruise missiles, hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles etc. The threats and the need for standoff capabilities are much, much greater than the Harrier era. Again, F35B refueling would be a game changer for QEC offensive capability, but also for QEC defensive capability.

Given all the procurement disasters it might be best to just get V-22 now and not have to wait for and worry about new catapults and new unmanned tankers.

Pete
Pete
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I wonder if it’s possible to develop large drop tanks that are themselves very simplistic homing drones. Disconnect a few hundred miles out and come home.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
8 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Detachable drone fuel tanks… that’s a really neat idea.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Would the extra weight not be a problem ?

Pete
Pete
8 days ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Probably not if mission is intended to get completed in Stealth mode with internal weapons load. Alternative could be drone dropped launched from Merlin. Do away with need for Cats. Still need traps to recover but……

Paul42
Paul42
9 days ago

Ok, she can obviously operate rotary without too much trouble, but when does she start trials with F35B?

Tom
Tom
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

This was the original plan may have slipped a little,
https://www.navylookout.com/timeline-delivering-carrier-strike/

Paul42
Paul42
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom

She needs to be fully up and running before QE returns. She’ll be needing a refit and POW will become the operational carrier.

nic
nic
8 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I don’t think we have enough to go round at the moment , it be a while so they will probably just work with helicopters.

Paul42
Paul42
8 days ago
Reply to  nic

We have enough airframes to conduct trials with just 2 aircraft. If not send her over the pond to the USA

nic
nic
8 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

How many F-35s do we actually have a the moment RAF/FAA.

KeithD
KeithD
7 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Isn’t a key focus this summer for PoW testing drones?

David
David
9 days ago

So, if we only have one vessel capable of RAS ing carriers and she is bound for the far East with QEC, how do we….

Answers on postcards to MoD RN VAdm Kidd.

Airborne
Airborne
8 days ago

Sometimes we seem to forget what great platforms and assets we have in the military with real professionals cutting about. Although the numbers are shockingly low, no depth or ability to take losses, but, being staying positive we do have capabilities that outshine most of our NATO allies, aside from the US that is.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
7 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

“Although the numbers are shockingly low, no depth or ability to take losses”
I can’t decide whether it’s good or bad that we’re actually probably the most capable of taking major warship loss, at least from my expert inside knowledge of a five minute Google.

Airborne
Airborne
7 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Try to bang out maybe 10 minutes google cheers!

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
6 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Right, I’m not sure what you mean here. The five minute Google thing was a joke about armchair admirals, nothing more.

Airborne
Airborne
6 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Never mind, not important but surely you dont believe the RN has enough depth of platforms to sustain even a few losses and it not effect its capability? Even 2 or 3 sunk/damaged will open up gaps we are unable to fill?

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 days ago

Looks like getting F35s may be sometime away ,but good to see her out at sea in a role what what keeps her Active 😁

Crabfat
Crabfat
8 days ago

“After the much-publicised first encounter at sea with her big sister HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group…”

I know I keep banging on about it but has anyone seen anything at all on BBC news about QE and POW and the CSG? Dozens of ships dashing around the North sea, letting off fireworks all over the place and… nothing from our national broadcaster.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 days ago
Reply to  Crabfat

I agree. A nation having a military and one which people should be proud is not “the agenda”

They know that its out there and that’s about it.

One reason why I support a widespread basing footprint, keeps a military on the locals mind.

The war years fade away and even the Falklands and Cold War are a mystery to many, it’s not seen as important as it once was.

Proud to buck that trend.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
8 days ago

The Iraq/Afghanistan years raised the Armed Force’s profile, mainly due to losses and Help for heroes ect. But the Force’s themselves can be a bit of closed shop at times. I think it really is important to keep up with airshows, open day’s, Armed Force’s Day ect, and our display teams can be vital to keeping the Force’s in people’s minds when not involved in large conflicts. Soft power at home, can be as important as it is abroad. Unfortunately much of our media is run by soft London social types, who have little interest in aircraft carrier’s and Typhoons.… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Time for a British “Top Gun”….. It worked wonders for the US. 😎 

Tony Smith
Tony Smith
8 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Devonport Navy Days were always the highlight of the year in Plymouth and the surrounding area (Torpoint, Saltash etc.) during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Remember being so impressed with the County Class Cruisers and watching the mock plane, helo and fast boat attacks up and down the river Tamar and the Hamoaze.

Paul42
Paul42
8 days ago
Reply to  Tony Smith

Yep, Ark Royal IV was normally star of the show.

Nic
Nic
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Forces TV sometimes do features on the Armed Forces deployments and documentary’s on new equipment, they can also be found repeated on you tube .

nic
nic
8 days ago

I wonder is the plan in future to deploy a flight of Apaches along with the Merlins and Wildcats as the carrier rotory wing.