The aircraft carrier was 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 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 Basic Operational Sea Training, establishing her lethality and ability to sustain operations.
Commanding Officer, Captain Darren Houston, said:
“We have been back in Portsmouth for several months in which time the world as we knew it has been transformed, but as Royal Navy sailors we now return to doing what we do best – preparing ourselves and our ship for future operations. Just because HMS Prince of Wales has been alongside throughout the Covid-19 epidemic it doesn’t mean that we, the Royal Navy and industry, haven’t been phenomenally busy preparing her for her next spell at sea.
In spite of the upheaval and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic the ship is ready for her date with Fleet Operational Sea Training, testament to the ability of my team, BAE Systems and our other industry partners, the Naval Base Command and everyone else who has had a hand in preparing HMS Prince of Wales over the past months.”
Ian Jackson, Queen Elizabeth Class Team Leader, BAE Systems said:
“I’m incredibly proud of the work our Portsmouth-based team has done to prepare HMS Prince of Wales for her latest trials and training period. Her sailing marks the end of a busy time that included getting HMS Queen Elizabeth ready for her first group exercise leading a NATO carrier strike group. HMS Prince of Wales has undergone many new capability insertions that will similarly make her a formidable force at sea and a first-rate aircraft carrier. The team has delivered this programme whilst working under Covid-19 safety conditions since the first national lockdown so it’s a joy for all of us to finally see her sail and have both of our Royal Navy carriers at sea.”