It has been confirmed that the aircraft carrier “will be ready” for her planned return to operations by May this year.

In May 2020, Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described (at the time) as “minor”.

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 training.

She is currently alongside in Portsmouth unable to deploy until repairs are completed.

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin confirmed the costs of the works in response to a written Parliamentary question from the Labour MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan.

“The estimated incremental cost of the repair work is £3.3 million. Remedial work being conducted on both Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to help prevent a repetition of this event is expected to cost £2.2m.”

When will the vessel be ready for operations?

James Heappey, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, recently stated:

“I can confirm that HMS PRINCE OF WALES will be ready for her planned return to operations by May 2021, when she will undertake activities in UK waters prior to her commencing NATO Command duties in 2022.”

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john melling
john melling
23 days ago

Well thank god the chewing gum in the leaky holes has stopped the flooding ;P

Only a few more weeks then and she’s back out to sea at last.

Frank62
Frank62
23 days ago
Reply to  john melling

I hope that is hi-tech BAE 6th generation stealth chewing gum rather than bog standard Wriggley’s.

dan
dan
23 days ago

Will she also have a USMC F-35B squadron aboard when she makes her first operation deployment?

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
23 days ago
Reply to  dan

The probable answer is, initially, yes plus a build-up of aircraft and pilots from 809 squadron.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
23 days ago
Reply to  dan

Operational test & evaluation jets from 17sqn

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
23 days ago
Reply to  dan

On a more positive note this does make the QEC class the premier platform for developing F35B tactics. The USMC involvement was designed in from the beginning. There are specific compartments that are for US eyes only signals etc. Let’s put it another positive way. We get to develop tactics using someone else’s planes while we wait for the later block planes to be delivered that will actually do what we want. USMC get to develop tactics on a dedicated F35B big carrier in a way they never could do on a a USN carrier or on a gator carrier:… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
23 days ago

Absolutely, it’s all great news re US involvement, apparently USMC personnel were blown away with the ship and it’s capabilities during deployed training. We will likely be working closely with the US anyway with Carrier deployments and this way Uncle Sam gets an extra two fleet carriers to help fill the gaps. It’s a mutually convenient arrangement. When we have 24 F35’s on board, the USMC can top up to the carriers 36 fast jets operating capability. Possibly basing V22’s onboard too. Eventually, the manned / unmanned mix on the carriers will allow the ships to realise their true capability,… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
23 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Was it manufacturing rectification?

Or was it a design issue?

If it was a design issue then the liability period has likely expired as it would be a maximum of 12 years if the contract was executed under seal.

Pete
Pete
23 days ago

Subject to nature of defect and structure of contract there may be a 6 year liability period post the date the damage occurred for Design issues that are deemed Negligent Latent Defects which were not, and reasonably could not have been, apparent at time of completion / acceptance.

It’s also possible, and commonly achievable, to negotiate extended latent defect rights beyond the law …often underpinned by latent defect insurances etc.

Would be interesting to review the relevant contracts.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
23 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Under English contract law if the contract was signed ‘under hand’ then the liability period would be 6 years: if the contract was executed ‘under seal’ it would be 12 years.

The common problem is that nobody want to execute under seal because none of the insurance markets want to cover long tail risks.

David
David
22 days ago

One would expect the Government to have sufficient negotiating strength to get any contracts executed under seal. But then some of their contracts (such as the Air Tanker contract) are not exactly favourable to the government’s interests, so one wonders……

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
22 days ago
Reply to  David

It is all about balance: there is zero point in putting 12 years on a contract if the markets won’t provide a PI coverage policy at a sensible price.

Hence HMG often ‘self insured’ these risks.

It would be interesting to see the high level terms of these things.

pete
pete
22 days ago

But Negligent Latent Defects under the Latent Damage Act of 1986 basically allows you to pursue damages for up to 6 years after the damage was suffered (but no more than 15 years after design was delivered). The 6 & 12 year provisions get extended in those circumstances. The fact that similar issues were encountered on both ships also points to latent Design issue rather than simply a Workmanship issue. The design wasn’t fit for its intended purpose…evident by 2 separate leaks.

Suggest the question is extent to which the defects were Negligent.

James
James
22 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’m amused at how many suck up to the Americans and have this fetish of Americans colonising their navy rather than advocating for a sovereign navy . You do things with allies when you have sovereign capabilities not when you have carrier with not enough jets . Look at the French a carrier with enough jets then only do stuff with the Americans.

Ron
Ron
22 days ago

I’m surprised the fate of the USS Bonhomme Richard is not a part of the discussion about how many F35Bs the USMC will want to park on the QE Carriers. It’s a Gator/flat top carrier that had a recent fire and has been scrapped; replacement not due for some time like Type 23. I even wonder if the lower F35B UK buy numbers have something to do with it.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
22 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Doubt it.

The numbers of F35B are pretty much as announced and the USMC detail has always been factored in.

If anything it may have increased USMC interest in QEC technologies given the cost of a QEC is not that different from a Gator flat top.

The general feedback from USMC pilots is that QEC is well optimised for F35B as opposed to their platforms that are optimised for a range of other things so are optimal for nothing.

IRL because of their size and deck length/area QEC is the premiere platform for F35B.

Crabfat
Crabfat
23 days ago

Does anyone know what was the cause of the leaks and was anyone/company held responsible for the cost of repairs?

Palaboran
Palaboran
23 days ago
Reply to  Crabfat

Prop shaft seals?

Johan
Johan
23 days ago
Reply to  Crabfat

leak was from high pressure system, and was the same as the leak experienced by QE when she limped back into Pompey. there was a design issue and a join where a join shouldn’t have really been. QE suffered the 1st leak and the major 2nd leak, and was flagged as a design issue. So this was under close observation on POWs 1st leak was nearly to the same hour of operation as the QE, So POWs returned to pompey and the system was run up alongside untill it went POP. Carrier Alliance were being held responsible, But it just… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
23 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Pipes break and leak all the time on a ship throughout its life. Galvanised steel pipe and CuNi all have around a 5 and 10 year life respectively before they suffer from erosion due to turbulent flow in seawater systems. I believe that the pipes on QE and POW where GRP as they last longer than the metal pipes, however there was a design issue with a join and it went pop. Unfortunatley the water wicked up the cables and affected the electrical supplies….again that happens and you work around it. Look on the bright side…it could have been a… Read more »

Steve
Steve
23 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Pretty pricey repairs. Totally of £5.5m. Let’s hope it was at least partially covered by BAe, otherwise that is a fair amount of money which could have gone elsewhere.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I’d say dead cheap for something of the scale of a QEC.

Must have been a pretty easy fix.

Crabfat
Crabfat
23 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Appreciate your response, Johan.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
21 days ago
Reply to  Johan

There were two separate issues a) shaft seal; and b) high pressure sea water main The shaft seal issue was not that big a deal. The high pressure main was a bigger deal and caused the electrical problem. It is not possible to say wether it was a design/specification/manufacturing/installation issue without understanding the specific mode of failure. Saying the same thing occurred under identical conditions doesn’t do that. If I was to take an inspired guess, based on Gunbuster’s comments that the pipe was GRP, I would suggest that the pipe was installed in a long straight run and someone… Read more »

Johan
Johan
23 days ago

No Ships carpenter and his bucket of assorted wooden wedges was going to stop that leak.

Naveen Pragnarathna
23 days ago

I like to see the British Naval force restores to old British Glorious day before the world war ii, I how they’re doing good around world, I my self respect them and sad about them leaving our Trincomalee Harbour, I love to see them back and operate it like glorious days pf British Empire!!!

geoff
23 days ago

Ha-ship sinking and still no Jets! 🙂

geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Irony…

geoff
23 days ago

Jokes aside, must be a nightmare, no matter how good the build, in doing maintenance on one of these ships. Beachfront properties in this part of the world are very expensive to maintain. Even stainless,aluminium, galvanised deteriorate very quickly with red and white rust. GRP chalks under UV Light and composites and other plastics become brittle. My only comment(as a land lubber) is that sensitive electrics should be housed in well protected trunking although I suppose if a large volume is flooded it would be difficult to exclude water.
Gunbuster?

Ron5
Ron5
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Still waiting for the joke.

geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  Ron5

Did you hear the one about the two roadworkers Fred and Bill working with hot tar. No safety boots in those days and Fred accidentally spilled some hot tar on Bills unprotected foot. Bill screamed in pain and outrage and just as he was about to tell Fred what he thought, a little old lady walked past and Bill said”Really Frederick, you must be more careful in future!”

geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

What I meant was that if land based structures are punished by exposure to sea breezes, then Ships at sea must get pummeled! Just in case anyone didn’t catch my drift..

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
22 days ago
Reply to  geoff

The higher the IP rating of the electrical enclosure and its wiring the higher its cost. Its not really practicable to conduit all cables. Most go on a cable tray in the deck head which should leave them clear of any water…. Unless it’s V deep. Plugs and sockets at terminations and glands are usually waterproof to a few feet… But again if the plug or joint is a little bit off water will get in, wick up the cable, top up a Junction box and then carry on wicking up any other cables in there! The only cables in… Read more »

geoff
22 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks for info Gunbuster

Frost
Frost
23 days ago

Good news, the USMC will be pleased.

Leslie Leveson
22 days ago

The technology today is a section which is welded as it is about economics in costs building ships like this One must consider that hopefully lessons has been learned through this not to be repeated again.Personally speaking i would like to see another carrier bulit as the Russian bear is digging its claws in sections of the world.One should not forget the Chinese dragon which is breathing fire in the world too.The importance of a navy is of upmost importance with the state of the art equipment


Nic
Nic
21 days ago

Is it the case when carriers go to sea , the aircraft will be made up of merlins RN and F35 from USMC, RAF and RN