Aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has been officially handed over to the Royal Navy by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

The vessel will be commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet on Tuesday the 10th of December.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a unique relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence. More than 10,000 people across the UK have been involved in the programme to deliver the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with six British shipbuilding yards across the country playing a vital role in the ships’ design and construction.

HMS Prince of Wales, the second of two aircraft carriers designed and constructed for the Royal Navy, recently sailed into her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time.

More than £100m has been spent updating and enhancing the facilities at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Portsmouth, including an upgrade to the Princess Royal Jetty which will be home to both carriers. A new Combined Heat and Power facility has also been established to deliver power to the carriers, increase energy resilience and reduce the carbon footprint of the Base. Made up of three natural gas generators, at full load, the facility can produce enough energy to power 28,000 homes.

The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest, most capable and powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK, each providing our armed forces with a four acre military operating base. Once fully operational, the ships will provide the forward deployed base for the UK’s F-35B aircraft, delivering an uncompromising carrier strike capability to the UK’s armed forces anywhere in the world.

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David Flandry

The QE carrier power is due solely to the embarked aircraft. Lets hope they at least equal the French singleton carrier.


Isn’t that the same for every in service carrier today? Even the US Supercarriers lack any offensive capabilities other than their embarked aircraft. That’s what escort ships and subs are for.

Greg Larsen

U.S. Aircraft Carriers rely on a layered defense first set up by Aircraft that are always on patrol with a radar alert plane that organizes priority targets. Then you have surface ships that set up a layered missile defense then you have The Phalanx CIWS on board along with The SM-2 Missile to defend against any antiship missiles that get through the layered defense. New U.S. Carriers are working with rail guns and lasers for future defense. You also have at least one or two Nuclear Attack submarines that work with the layered defense.


Lovely picture, as a question are there any identifying marks between the two ships which allows people to distinguish between the two from a distance?


Currently, the pennant no. & deck codes, funnel badges and the lack of phalanx units on POW are the major visual differences. QE also has some additional equipment on board for the F35’s which hasn’t been installed on POW as of yet, though the casual observer wouldn’t spot it. There are some further differences between the two ships, such as the bedford array, which you won’t see. From a distance you’d struggle to tell them apart.


As Lusty mentioned, the main one would be the different badges on the funnels. But they also have them painted on the front of the ski ramps as well.


Not anymore I’m afraid.



have you seen anything on this Astute replacement design?

Interesting, and it will be be a large volume sub if it’s based on the Dreadnought class.


Steve R

My concern would be how many of these can we afford to build? We only have 7 Astutes, I worry that the replacement will be so expensive that we will only get 5. HMG really need to either get on board and properly fund defence so that we get at least 10 of the next subs, or look at alternatives such as an advanced SSK diesel electric class to supplement the SSNs. Say if we end up with a like for like replacement of the Astutes, plus 6-8 diesel-electric subs. Would close to double our submarine fleet for relatively little… Read more »


Hi Helions, Yes, I had seen that. Interesting times ahead and it’s only right that we look to a replacement in good time. As with all projects, my concern remains with spiralling costs and actually delivering the capability on time. The Astute programme has stalled with the fourth boat, delaying the whole programme and possible forcing the old T boats to remain in service a little longer. I’m also concerned with numbers. The submarine fleet has been salami-sliced right down over the years like so many other capabilities. With Barrow having the monopoly, the only way to increase the fleet… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Does anyone know what the issue is with Audacious?


I believe it has to do with lack of skilled labor and a shortage of suppliers – much the same as with the delays with HI with the USN’s Virginia class boats.



Building new classes of subs (and surface ships) is all fine and good. However, in the case of the USN, you have to be able to MAINTAIN them. Easily 15% of the SSN 688 force remaining is awaiting yard space. Even with some improvements we are still going to be down to just 48 attack boats in the 2030’s – about 17 short of what the USN states it’s going to need as they redo fleet composition. In the case of the RN with so few SSNs left, I don’t see anyway that it can meet the challenges of… Read more »


On the subject of the Ships crests, as a flag buff I find it ironic that HMS QE named after the English Queen Elizabeth, has a crest based on the Tudor colours of green and white which form the basis of the Welsh flag whereas HMS Prince of Wales has a crest based on the English flag, albeit with the PoW feathers in the centre..
just thought yous would like to know 🙂


At the moment yes, QE has at least two Phalanx mounts fitted, POW doesn’t, plus the respective badges.


I think the QEC actually look rather elegant, unusual for flat tops. I so hope to see them both tied up in Portsmouth over this Christmas.


Got to be honest and say due to the positioning of the Forward island so far forward and the ski jump, they are not good looking ships, sadly they look rather ugly from certain quarters.

William Schimanke

Is Argentine a Friend or a Foe? Seems to me they always seem to double cross the U.K. Why on this green earth and blue sky! Why do we even have relations with this 3rd World Country! Stupid is, as Stupid does!