HMS Prince of Wales has been floated out of dry dock today.
The supercarrier was moved from No. 1 dock to J&K berth this morning.
A contact on-board told us earlier:
“All in all it was a quiet affair, albeit a bit stressful but everything went as it was supposed to. We certainly didn’t get the fanfare QE got for her float out. Presumably they want to avoid any sort of speculation in the media.”
HMS Prince of Wales is the sister ship of HMS Queen Elizabeth. The carrier will take over F-35 trials to allow HMS Queen Elizabeth to return to dock for her routine re-certification work.
Former Captain of the vessel Ian Groom told media that HMS Prince of Wales will need to be delivered during 2019 to allow flight trails to continue whilst Queen Elizabeth is undergoing inspection in dry dock.
HMS Prince of Wales is currently on track for sea trials in mid-2019.
Quoted in Janes, Groom said:
“There is a further set of fixed-wing flying trials needed and HMS Prince of Wales has to carry them out. HMS Queen Elizabeth’s re-certification period in 2019 means we need HMS Prince of Wales then.”
The builders are already applying lessons from including improvements to the process of preparing its heat-resistant flight deck and installing an improved F-35 landing light systems earlier in the build process.
As stated in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the government plan to enhance a Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier to support amphibious capability, that ship will be HMS Prince of Wales.
When discussing these capabilities while we were on board the Prince of Wales, we were told that modifications would include enhancing the vessels ability to host troops. This means that storage for additional marines and more equipment will be provided and some key corridors widened too.
Previous captain, Ian Groom, said:
“We optimised systems and learned how things could be improved both in terms of the systems and also the order in which you build things to make it more efficient and we’re drawing those lessons into Prince of Wales so that we can build it as swiftly as possible to the highest quality.
The reason we need two ships is to make sure that one is always available at very high readiness to provide choice to the government. That choice ranges from hard military power, delivering carrier strike, right down to humanitarian aid or promoting UK trade and industry.