HMS Prince of Wales has turned her propeller shafts for the first time this week.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance are confident she will be ready for sea trials by November 2019.

Recently, the Government again confirmed that aircraft carrier will enter Royal Navy service.

In 2010, the British government announced that Prince of Wales would be either sold or mothballed due to budget cuts. However, in 2014 during the NATO Summit in Wales, then Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the aircraft carrier would be brought into active service.

This commitment was later reaffirmed in the government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 in November 2015 and is often repeated when rumours appear that the vessel may be sold.

People I spoke to on-board the vessel on my last visit told me that building HMS Prince of Wales has been “20% to 25%” faster than building its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth. When on HMS Queen Elizabeth two years ago, we were told that the build of HMS Prince of Wales was expected to be around 8 months quicker thanks to “lessons learned” in the build process.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“People I spoke to on-board the vessel on my last visit told me that building HMS Prince of Wales has been “20% to 25%” faster than building its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth.”

In that case why has it actually taken longer?


25% less man hours… Maybe???


I suspect so too, they want to drag it out to keep key staff employed and perhaps delay certain equipment costs methinks, while it’s not exactly urgent to push matters when getting it to sea quicker wouldn’t actually achieve anything considering the lack of available aircraft (crew no doubt too) and the proposed in service date. So ‘man hours’ sounds like the scale rather than overal time in construction.

Not sure if this affects overall project costs mind.


25% less dockies?

because scottish shipbuilders are slow, badly organised,wrongly contracted for navy shipbuilding. they take 4 years to build an o.p.v a warship will take twice as long


I understand that only one will be active at any time (outside of an emergency but who knows where they’ll get the manning), but if both were active and there are only escorts and planes for one, then the other could be based “Down Under”. The RAN could provide escorts and routine maintenance (which would be a win for Oz shipyards) and the USMC could provide the aircraft (F35s, helos, and Osprey) since the contingent in Darwin is getting larger and larger…



How does it work in the US does each carrier have multiple crews that work on rotation or by and large one crew per carrier with partial rotation for holidays?


The latter BB. USN carrier crews stay with the ship even during major maintenance availabilities to assist in the process. On an extended one, it’s possible for a crew member to rotate out without ever having gone to sea. The LCS are manned with a Blue and Gold crew as are the SSBNs and SSGNs.



Base PoW here in Oz? Seriously? Sorry, not going to happen. Even if the RN does have the ability in the future to man and operate both QE and PoW and the UK and Australian Governments can come to an agreement to base PoW here in Oz, that is only the beginning of questions that are not easily answered or solved. You are suggesting that the RAN provide ‘escorts’, the RAN doesn’t have spare escorts for a start, the Destroyers and Frigates have their own roles here as well as escorting the two Canberra class LHDs. Then of course PoW… Read more »


Twasn’t a really serious suggestion. It just seems a shame to have an asset like that sitting about. However, if I WERE to put forth a more substantial proposal I would suggest a multinational 5 Eyes based joint task force centered on a QE or a USN America class LHA and based in Oz an a rotational tour. The escorts exist within the member navies – particularly in the USN since we have escorts for the mandated 11 carrier groups but only have about 8 right now with all of the problems with the GRF and others in complex overhauls… Read more »


If they are both out to sea, operationally, at the same time then both will both also be not out to sea when they are on maintenance.
I don’t see it at all likely, except in some dire emergency, that they will operate at the same time.


Helions, Yes it is unfortunate that, at this stage, the UK is not planning to have both QE class carriers operational at the same time, but that all comes down to ‘dollars and manpower’, and it would appear that a big chunk of the UK defence budgets in coming years is going to be swallowed up by the SSBN replacements (that’s an issue for the UK to deal with). As for a Five Eyes based task force for the Indo-Pacific, I wouldn’t be holding my breath as to how much resources can, or will, be provided by the UK (again,… Read more »


It’s the capability that will deter aggression, so it makes sense to have the ability to deploy both vessels at once. In an emergency the carriers may be operating in close proximity, which reduces the need for escorts (see the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Falklands War).

As you’ve both rightly pointed out, it’s unnecessary to sail both around simultaneously. This would degrade both the service life and the crew’s morale.

Gavin Gordon

The only really unfortunate occurance would be a UK Gov ‘reassessment of the need’ for two carriers during a ‘defence review’ i.e. save some money; an insane option in an environment of increasing instability, but well within the ‘ability’ of our current politicians. Outside of Five Eyes and regardless of aspirations, in any serious state conflict the UK would need to revert to our default position of defending the N Atlantic against not only Russia but also quite possibly the Chinese via the northern route, leaving yours and the USA’s hardware to cover the Pacific, alongside eastern allies. We’ve been… Read more »


The USN has a “Rule of 3” for their aircraft carriers. It is basically: 1st ship on Active Duty/Patrol 2nd ship in Docks undergoing major maintenance/refit 3rd ship in Port preparing/working up for the next Duty/Patrol Their carriers and air groups rotate through these cycles. After a long patrol/duty, crews and equipment need R&R. It would be unrealistic to expect both RN carriers to be on active duty at the same. They too have to undergo the same cycles as above. There will be times when neither ships will be available to the RN or NATO. With NATO, this is… Read more »


with all the crewing concerns, i’d hope the u.k to be at the very forefront of autonomous/remote control systems systems
in the future everyone will need/want to go go down this route at every opportunity, a ship, operated by robots programmed to carry out specific tasks might well be worth investing into


if this could happen, then why did we build two of them? i’d far soon have seen a new ocean type, with the facility as per the u.s to operate f 35b from it.too late now though, maybe sell POW to the french in exchange for cash and a mistral, and kill two birds with one stone a new ocean type facility and a spare ‘light carrier’ for the fleet.


would using some cobbers’ in the crew be worth it?

Daniele Mandelli

I thought the crew for POW were part coming from Ocean.


I think the RN will have to move to a 1 on 1 off model for most of the fleet with a single ship in deep maintenance at any given time. It is conceivable that the RN moves into an 8 fleet service of 76 major Vessels (similar to todays hull count). 2 x Carrier Strike Groups (QEC-CSG, POW-CSG) (1xCVF, 4xT45/26, 2xFFT, 1x JALSS/Albion/Bulwark, 1xSSN) = 18 Total 4 x standing task squadrons (Sword, Juno, Gold and Swift) (2 x T26/45, 4 xT31, 2x JALSS, 2x Specialist) = 40 Total 1 x CASD Squadron 3xSSBN, 6xSSN = 9 Total 1… Read more »

Bloke down the pub

I take it that PWLS has not got her propellers yet and that she’s only got test rig fitted , the same as when QNLZ first turned her shafts?


Yes, that would be the case, unless they’re carrying out some impressive bollard load tests!

Andy P

No idea but as a neighbour I can confirm the diesels have been running for trials. Noisy B’stards.


I stand corrected! They put her in a low revolution, transverse thrust manoeuvre…

Bloke down the pub

Cheers all for the feedback. It’s odd that, although I follow @HMSPWLS on twitter, I’d not seen any of their tweets in my timeline. Someone’s algorithm needs tweaking.


If we apply the same efficiencies to T26 we can and should be able to afford another 2 vessels (8×25% saving = 2). If the contract was structured in a way to incentivise effeciency sharing (and it may well be) this could become 2 Extra ships for the RN and the portion of those build cost saves (2×25% = 50% of 1 ship) going to BAE, which would be a win/win all round. obviously this won’t happen but its interesting that on the one hand we are constantly told how much more efficient subsequent builds are, whilst always seeing the… Read more »

Meirion X

The best that could be hoped for, is 1 more T26 which would meet the ‘Rule of Three’. The only way to grow the fleet is to procure the Arrowhead 140, which has plenty of potential to be GP and AAW frigates. The MoD will Not start to replace T45 until about 2035, the development of a replacement for T45, will most likely start in 2025, of course some leading tech, is in development right now. As I said in a previous post, they will look at emerging technologies, of particularly warpons that our adversaries have, and emerging threats in… Read more »


Yes,yes,the total number must be divisible by 3.


No leaks I hope, HMS QE leaked from the prop shaft didn’t she and had to go to Invergorden for repairs that took weeks. obviously all HMS QE problems won’t be present on HMS POW as major lessons will be learned. So If India wants one we have all the skills right now to build it quicker, better, and cheaper, send a nice big cheque our way India and you can willy wave to Pakistan.


After the blade issue, they modified the shaft blocks that caused the seal/gland failure and ingress…but most importantly, will be a failsafe/shut-off remedy for the recent ‘fast’ flood.

Gavin Gordon

Talking of which, I’ve not noticed any update on QE’s progress since the leak & early return to Portsmouth. She still on schedule for Westlant 19 anyone?


The shaft leak was the least of the problems. The Blades becoming loose on the Hub where the big issue. That was fixed but the bolting of the blades to the Hub is still a closely monitored issue.

Sheldrake PJM

Thank goodness.. Should there have been any doubt.? Even as an ex soldier in BAOR , it makes sense to me. Get them both out, plus suitable escorts ; damn it we used to have them. We are a seafaring nation. My early life was 8 years in the RFA too. We had EAGLE, ARK ROYAL, HERMES., and our assault ALBION and. BULWARK…. That was only 40 yrs ago.

Robert blay

Having both QE class in service means we can have an active in service carrier available 365 days a year. One carrier will remain at ‘R2 status ‘ which means it has to be available to deploy at 48hrs notice. The 2nd carrier will be in maintance/refit/post refit sea trials. And there will be times both are available with one being able to provide the LPH role. And they will make mighty fine LPH’s that can carry far more helicopters than Ocean could. ???


The rule of three dictates that there will be long periods when neither carrier is available. Where are you intending to get the crew and aircraft to operate 2 carriers simultaneously?

Robert blay

She has the crew, she isn’t going to start sea trials with only half a crew. And we have plenty of helicopters, especially Chinooks. We wont have enough F35’s to fill both ships, unless we put 24 on one carrier and 10-12 on the 2nd to back up an LPH air wing. Early days though.


excellent news, now band on a few missiles and get her to sea.