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.”

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Patrick
Patrick
2 months ago

And they said she’d be out of action until May.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Patrick

lol

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago

QE will be heading out tomorrow.

I’ll join the crowd asking for a photex. 😉

Andrew D
2 months ago

All she needs now is an air group ,but good to see 👀

Moonstone
Moonstone
2 months ago

On the 30th October 1944 while operating off the Philippines the Essex Class aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV13) was attacked by a Japanese aircraft – its bomb penetrating the flight deck and causing a vertible inferno amongst the numerous fueled and armed aircraft in the hanger. Over 800 men lost their lives and many more were injured – at one point the ship was considered to be in real danger of being lost. Yet despite all of this the ship was back in service by January 1945. A interesting comparison don’t you think to the remarkable length of time it… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Moonstone

It was a desperate situation mind back then and no H&S considerations, they even raised ships at Pearl Harbour, did basic repairs (one destroyer had lost its bow) and got them back to the West Coast for full repairs, they were even queuing up for the dry dock in Hawaii they worked so quickly. Different circumstances and to be honest different World too. Mind you a few years back the Japanese filled in a sink hole in the middle of a busy road junction and had it back in operation in 48 hours so who knows what’s possible.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Also; you didn’t have Water Damage to a metric tonne of sensitive electrical equipment. American Aircraft Carriers had open hangars and unarmoured flight decks so when an explosion happened inside them much of the blast could dissapate fairly easily (well… not for the people caught in them obviously). Repairs to the actual structure where comparatively easy, you put a bit of sheet metal down over the hole, wood on top of that, and that was a basic bodge.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Wonderful electronic systems + explosives. Makes you think a war-tuned WW2 combatant might outlast a modern novice, if it could survive initial guided salvo!

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Well, if you could ignore the matter of getting close enough in the first place a WW2 Cruiser or Battleship with it’s belt armour would probably whipe the floor with most modern surface escorts. No amount of CAMM or CIWS is going to stop a 15inch shell.

Then again I wouldn’t fancy my odds in a TBD against anything armed with CIWS…

I believe Battleship New Jersey had a interesting video on their youtube (slightly off topic) about how a 1980’s USS New Jersey would have faired if it was in Bismarks position.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Regarding that first point, how about the ww2 cruiser asks the newbie if their Absolutely Sure over all RoE ramifications whilst it closes?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Following on from your ‘off topic’ on NJ Museum. The Drachinifel zoom interview with the last Iowa had a few nuggets. Like the reaction to his sensor & weapon up in the small area of Int Waters at Hormuz, for instance.
Regards

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

I’ve not seen much Drachinifel in the last few months I’m afraid, despite being one of his Patreons since my last exercise I’ve fallen behind and not gotten back into the listening habit…
Something about 3 hour drydocks just is very intimidating XD

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Or if the WW2 cruiser approaches a US Battlegroup claiming to be a merchant ship called Rawalpindi…
*edited to correct the spelling of “Rawalpindi”, missed a bloody A.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dern
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Just musing a few weeks back over if we’ve still got a few Woodward (erstwhile ‘neighbour’) and Leach combos, and a Cunningham for that matter. Don’t wish to be unfair, but wasn’t as impressed as I’d like to have been over the admittedly brief assessment of 4-ringers during the Ch4 Duncan series – hence my RoE rematk, to be honest. Though one PWO seemed promising. Small navy does not give so very long command time experience, of course. And we’re not sharpened so much by cold war, though that’s likely changing as we speak. Combined Service coop will have to… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Didnt work out well for the Belgrano!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Ah, but Conqueror used mk8 WW2 torps on her because crew didn’t trust Tigerfish.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Quite – so there’s room yet for the old stuff!

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

This seems relevant for that:
https://youtu.be/IKQlQlQ6_pk?t=127

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
2 months ago
Reply to  Moonstone

And during the Falklands war the Paveway laser guided bomb was integrated onto the RAF Harrier jets in three days. Now such an integration would take at least three years, if you’re lucky. During war, needs must and all other considerations don’t count.

dan
dan
2 months ago

Not too mention the U.S. giving the Brits their latest AIM-9 variant prior to sailing which made a huge difference in the air battle.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Plus a software update that was uploaded onto the AIM-9L as the task force sailed south. Complete disregard for safety or such things as EMC, etc. Wires were literally run through the wing structure of Nimrods to mount Sidewinder on their wings. Likewise with Shrike on Vulcans.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago

Hmmm given what ultimately happened to Nimrod and Haddon Cave – that approach had long term consequences!

We can still do things like that for Ops very quickly when money flows and people are prepared to take risk – its just that is rarely the case as even modern Ops are not of the same urgency as 1982.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Haddon Cave was a very sad wake up call. To be fair it was the cumulation of a platform (Nimrod) that would never meet modern specs with decades of undocumented bodges and work arounds on it. As such the worst possible example was used to form the highly restrictive generality. So whilst I think it is totally valid to say ‘do anything to stop that happening again’ the current approach, as is all UK H&S, is an over reaction to the issue in from of us which is more complicated than H&S but H&S provides a single point solution for… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago

I dont think Nimrod was an outlier, standards were as a WO said to me “gash everywhere” from managment of mods to authorising stuff to what actually happened on the line.

You only have to look at E3 recently to see how pernicious a “we must do this now for ops” attitude can become and where it can leave safety.

The pendulum swings back and forth – but overzealous and oftrn counter productive H&S is where we are, a long Covid debate could ensue!

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Hi Dan, From memory, I believe the Navy raided NATO stocks for the Lima – and the US back-filled. But I think pilot quality and tactical nous was also crucial in the 23 air-to-air kills – including one with the SHAR’s 30mm cannon.

Last edited 2 months ago by Alan Reid
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

I think the answer was both.

Some came from NATO and some came direct from US -> Ascension on a cargo plane.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

I wrote a paper on the Falklands Air War a while back, in the course of it coming across evidence that the AIM9L shootdowns were all actually well inside the G’s envelope and so the L whilst of course very welcome given that couldnt be known, wasnt technically needed.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Yes, I think that was generally accepted in the after event analysis.

The thing is, for the polite, they had more confidence: they had the latest and best version.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago

Busy times. PoW & QE will be at sea simultaneously, despite the naysayers. Lots of comments will be about the lack of aviation. Well that aviation is coming but the first issue should be that both of these ships need to build a crew. QE is about there, and will be put to the test shortly. PoW has this year to build that crew, the skills and capacity. Good luck to everyone!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Lots of comments about not having enough crew are also put to bed by this double deployment.

Jack
Jack
2 months ago

Has there been any official word on who will pay for the repairs ?

Jonny Agar
Jonny Agar
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

It’s being discussed as it was a design issue same issue suffered by QE while she outside Plymouth. Simple as a join being in the wrong place. But sea water and high power didn’t mix.

pete
pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

If its a design issue evidence by repeat occurrences than should be design house under their PI Insurances or off their balance sheet. Even better if you can demonstrate it is a Negligent Latent Defect.

Wonder what the incremental operational bill would have been relative to the cost to repair. Not much fuel burnt and assume many other systems haven’t seen too much in wear and tear over the period.

Crabfat
Crabfat
2 months ago

Anyone know what “new capability insertions” refers to, in this context?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Crabfat

It could be anything. The vessel design was locked in during build so no alterations which saves time and money. You spiral in other upgrades as and when they become available after build.
I would not be surprised if Mode 5 IFF was not one of those things. It was probably to late to fit it in during build as it wasnt then available..
It will be lots of lessons learnt from QE. Other things could be pipework alterations or extra valve isolations to make life easier for the ME DEPT.

Crabfat
Crabfat
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks GB.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

There is is a line in the sand where Mk5 IFF must be fitted (and operational), as NATO will no longer be using the Mk4 codes. It was supposed to be done by 2015, but kept getting extended as Nations couldn’t afford a mass rollout. 2025 is the latest and preferably last date.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I was working with the project team in assisting with Mode 5 instalation on an RN vessel last year. There was a cut off date and as you said it got moved right because nobody could meet the instalation schedule. It wasn’t a straight forward fit either. New cable runs from the radar room, up the mast, through bulkhead connectors, new aerials etc.

But some one, some where on here, who has no comprehension of systems and how they get fitted will probably say it should be easy…. Its plug and play!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Everything is easy: until you try to fit it and get it working in a real environment cluttered with other things.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yep, can fully understand that. I know of one aircraft in our fleet, that has had no end of issues trying to get Mode 5 to work. There was a configuration difference to what the systems designer was given and what the integrator used to install the system. Caused no end of issues, especially when it didn’t work first time round, then started to interfere with other systems when it did. It is only now getting to a state where it can be used with any confidence. The loading procedure was a bag of shi*e as well. Written by someone… Read more »

Jonny Agar
Jonny Agar
2 months ago

Again 8 UK F35s. Seems to confirm that pilot numbers is not where it should be. NAO were clever with there report when saying numbers were lower than anticipated. We have more planes than pilots.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
2 months ago

Two Royal Navy aircraft carriers leaving port together (ish) Wow… who would have thought a couple of years ago. Well done Pompey and all who got them sailing.

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Agreed!