HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, appears to have embarked her first F-35 jet.

Please note that the above image is just a stock photo of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, we don’t yet have any official imagery we can use.

Imagery captured by the @RfaNostalgia Twitter account show HMS Prince of Wales off the coast of southern England with an Apache helicopter and F-35B jet on her deck.

NavyLookout tweeted the following.

HMS Prince of Wales was due to conduct these trials off the US coast last year but issues (more about that below) meant she couldn’t.

656 Squadron and their Apache attack helicopters also recently 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 now 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.

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Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago

Handy that. POW just off the Cornwall coast with Apache embarked, just as the G 7 leaders arrive. What a coincidence!

julian1
julian1
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I assume the leaders must be flying into what must be a nearly empty Culdrose. Plenty of room to park those big jets then.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  julian1

The whole of Newquay has been sealed off that’s where they’re coming in. More security and secret service that I’ve had hot pasties and that’s saying something!

julian1
julian1
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

so St Mawgan, I did think that was more appropriate given its size and currently handles big jets. I bet there’s a SAS/Delta Force team on standby at Culdrose though

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  julian1

Ha, probably more aircraft at Predannack …. truth be known !

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Anyone who hasn’t a clue what or where a “Predannack” is…… feel free to Google…………..  😃 

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

I know!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Not that many there surely? I remember an old Dominie, or was it a Jetstream?

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
1 month ago

Last time I went, there were about 6 including a couple of Harriers. They weren’t in very good nik though !

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

I’m not surprised! RNAS was using Pred for UAV trials recently.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

I’m not surprised! I also saw RNAS was using Pred for UAV trials recently.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Never heard of it, so I looked it up. Cheating I know, but I love widipedia! It is still used as a alternative landing site for Culdrose and the RN uses it for fire fighting training, hence the range of airframes in poor condition on the airfield. It is also used by the local model flying club and Air Cadets. It is not listed as an RNAS, so I guess it is civilian (MoD?) controlled. All of which suggests it could be revamped if we ever needed it as the runways would need to be kept up to scratch for… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I had three Ospreys and two VH-3D’s fly over me yesterday evening while having a walk on a beach in Cornwall. It was in addition to the four Ospreys that I saw over the weekend, which put into Exeter along with three Hercules.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Roll up, roll up Trips around the bay (in an Osprey)….. and a landing on POW. Only ten bob guv.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Any Dauphins?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

I haven’t seen any yet, but a few chinooks have been clattering around – they’re not appearing on AIS.

The waters off St Ives are also playing host to no less than six Royal Navy warships.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

IDs?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Morning mate.

When I wrote that last night, the six were:

Blazer, Explot, Ranger
Tyne, Tamar (though she dazzled me too much)
Northumberland

It now looks like two of the P2000s are maybe heading to Falmouth, along with HMS Sabre. HMS Smiter is off St Ives now, and the local news (take it with a heavy pinch of salt) stated that a Type 45 and PoW would appear.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Well that’s a reasonable presence using Archers for patrol.
Wonder if any Typhoons have been moved forward for QRA? Boscombe, Yeovilton and Culdrose all been mentioned post 9/11 as able to take a det.
I keep forgetting Scimitar and Sabre long back from Gibraltar.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

And, Good morning. 🙂

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

I think Scimitar is heading down as well, but don’t quote me on that one!

I haven’t seen any Typhoons as of yet. It could be that they’re at Yeovilton or yet to arrive. I know a US C17 delivered the Sea Kings to Culdrose, and I believe the Ospreys flew over the pond. There are some great photos of them on St Michael’s Mount!

It appears St Ives and the surrounding area has been turned into a mini Port Stanley – there are plenty of mobile radar stations and missile stations dotted around.

i’m sure you’d love it!

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Mobile radar stations! Ours? I assume 1 ACC.

Missile stations? Any pics on Twitter?

Stayed at Carbis bay a few times and my family are further up not far from Bude. Aren’t you lucky living down there.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Hearing that Sky Sabre is out and about, though I can’t confirm.

https://twitter.com/Comd7ADGp/status/1402238454038138882/photo/1

I’m very lucky indeed! Hopefully you can get back down soon.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Ah, 49 Battery down from Thorney. Nice.
In 2012 HVM was on a tower block roof for Olympics so maybe Sky sabre or FSC somewhere.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Yes – that made for some great pics!

Nic
Nic
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

That is probably part of the Bidens Road Show

Nic
Nic
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I wonder if they will use drones as aerial cover as well as choppers

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago

Good to see her first F35B on board!

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago

All good news, when is the next delivery of B’s ? I thought we had 24 but apparently it’s still only at 21…. seems to be a bit protracted……

julian1
julian1
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

last year’s “batch” arrived early December. I reckon they save them up and fly over as a job lot to get the most out of the 2 Voyagers assigned. I’m sure I remember reading that deliveries would accelerate from 2021. I wonder if it will be another batch late in the year or whether they’ll drip feed them

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  julian1

Well I hope we get a few more given we are only 6 months from having to escort an important Cargo from the Arctic…… Again LOL.  😂  ( sorry George, I do love Christmas !!!! )

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
1 month ago
Reply to  julian1

Ok…we’ve got 21 at present. 3 are Test Aircraft at Edwards AFB in the US, they’ll only see the UK at the end of their careers when they end up at Hendon, Cosford and Duxford. The other 18 are at Marham (and on QE and it appears PoW). We’re due another 6 aircraft this year, with another 8 in 2022. Then 13 between 2023 and 2025. This makes up the ’48’. Worth noting that the arrival of 6 this year effectively increases our ‘real’ fleet by 33% (18 to 24) in 2021, then the arrival of 8 in 2022 does… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Think we will have 33 delivered by early 2022.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Another 12 then, in Six months or so ? …… oh. Thanks mate that should be good for POW I guess.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Unless the RAF shout bagsy really loudly and take them all to an airfield somewhere.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

No mate, there wil not be 33 F-35Bs at end of this year, but 27. 6 extra this year.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Springer
Springer
1 month ago

Might be a training mock up version for the handlers? Maybe a Chinook brought it onboard 😉

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Springer

Well “Seb H” on Twitter seems to agree with you ………  😀 

Springer
Springer
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

He seems to think it’s part of FOST training, crash on deck etc.. (the wreckers must get fed up having to haul that around with them though!) Guess we’ll find out soon enough, I’ll be looking out for the obligatory videos!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Springer

I dunno, it looks very photo op-y to me. But *shrugs*
Wasn’t there a big press embargo when F-35 first landed on QE?

Springer
Springer
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Maybe it’s going to sit in the background of the G7 summit, the QE did seem to have a media blackout whilst the first F35 landed/launched again though (then released a load of stuff afterwards)

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Springer

I think it’s now been confirmed that it was in fact an F-35 landing on QE.

Tim UK
Tim UK
1 month ago

In a crisis could we man both carriers?

nic
nic
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim UK

Yes apparently we can

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim UK

Dunno about a Crisis but it appears we can “Man” them now…….  😂 

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim UK

Both are crewed. That was confirmed in 2015 by DC.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim UK

Both are at sea right now so I’m going to go out on a limb and say “yes.”

Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Isn’t there a difference between manning sufficient to go to sea, and manning to sustain full operational tempo? The intention to operate both simultaneously has never been stated.

Still good to see though

Last edited 1 month ago by Sonik
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Sonik

Misread that, sorry.
Normally yes, but she’s on FOST so I’d say she’s manned to sustain full operational tempo.
Still would need an airgroup embarked of course, which will be the sticking point.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

No worries!

Yep that was pretty much what I meant re full operational tempo – with airgroup

Answers above about F35 deliveries, but what about crew to support – maintainers, handlers, WE etc. not to mention pilots.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sonik
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Sonik

With Airgroup the personnel isn’t really the issue.
Say you embark a Regiment of Apaches on board, that regiment brings it’s own maintainers and handlers, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to operate on land either.
Same for F-35 etc.
As long the relevant services having the airframes available, and be willing to base them is where I think the drama may be.

Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks, I guessed it probably worked something like that.

Interservice politics aside, with F35 being a new platform (and a complex one!) I’m guessing it will take quite some time, after deliveries, to train and work up all the needed personnel & support systems, to be ready to deploy?

That was my question really.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Sonik

I thoughy it was stated by D.C in 2015 as part of SDSR when the worry was the other would be in mothballs. Crew came in part from Ocean?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Sorry Sonik, just read your reply below re Air group crew vs ship crew.

Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago

No worries

It’s still a big positive IMO that it’s been demonstrated that both CV can be operated at sea simultaneously. Helps to show that 100% CV availability is sustainable.

Nic
Nic
1 month ago

This would have been a good opportunity for the POW to used as ARF location or a emergency evacuation location.

Sophie
Sophie
28 days ago

why dont sail to USA ?