Commodore Stephen Moorhouse has taken over command of the UK’s second new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

Captain Moorhouse will be the first sea-going captain of HMS Prince of Wales, which is expected to leave Rosyth in late 2019 for contractor sea trials.

Captain Moorhouse said:

“I am delighted to assume command of HMS Prince of Wales at this exciting time as we prepare the ship to enter service. She will operate of the centre of a Maritime Task Group that will support the UK’s diverse diplomatic, security and economic interests around the globe.”

The Royal Navy say in a news release that the hand-over from an Engineering Senior Naval; Officer to a Warfare Commanding Officer is a major milestone in the ship’s build programme; Captain Moorhouse takes over from Captain Ian Groom who has spent more than two years leading the engineering marvels of the construction of the ship.

Looking back at his time with the ship, Captain Groom said:

“I have enjoyed my tenure as Senior Naval Officer for HMS Prince of Wales immensely and I am hugely proud of everything we have achieved. My handover of command to Captain Moorhouse marks the start of a new phase that will see him working together with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to take HMS Prince of Wales to sea and subsequently into service.”

Sir Simon Lister, ACA Managing Director said:

“I would like to thank Captain Ian Groom for his innovative, enthusiastic and steadfast work as Senior Naval Officer, HMS Prince of Wales. Ian has been a key member of my senior team, leading the vital integration of the ship’s company into the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

The arrival of Captain Steve Moorhouse, both as the Admiralty Trials Master and Commanding Officer, further strengthens our team as we gain momentum towards sea trials for HMS Prince of Wales. I warmly welcome Steve, and look forward to working closely with him as we together complete and set to work his ship.”

The Royal Navy also point out that Captain Moorhouse has previously commanded Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Severn in waters around the UK coastline and her sister ship HMS Clyde in the South Atlantic, Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster and helicopter assault ship HMS Ocean.

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Late 2019! I was under the impression the POW was to leave Rosyth in the spring of next year?

Nigel Collins

Perhaps we don’t have enough money in the kitty yet for the top coat ?

P tattersall

Troll alert ..


It’s actually ahead of schedual.


Hmmm…Sir Simon Lister who was the Head Engineer for the RN as an admiral and is now having some time off from the RN ( I didn’t know you could do sabbaticals…but apparently he can) to be ACA Managing Director!!

Nice work when you can get it!


You can take a career break of 1 year from the military. it’s allowed although rarely used.

Anthony D

Thank Christ we didn’t cancel our sell the second one off. A part time carrier strike capability would have been rediculous. Is there potential to surge two of? Will PoW be a lph or proper carrier?


Of course there is the ability to surge to 2 and in fact despite reports the UK can have a very good navy with 2 strike groups and 4 squadrons. Carrier Strike can be as follows on a 1 on 1 off basis with ability to surge to 2. CBG (22 ships in total / 11 per CBG) 1 CVF 2 T45 4 T23/31 2 FFT 1 LPD 1 SSN 4 Squadrons for Tasks (64 major ships) 2 x T23/T45 2 x Rivers 4 x MHVC 1 x SSS 1 x Bay (preferably 2 Karel Doorman style Joint support ships)… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Love this idea. And the names Juno and Gold.

Shouldn’t the T45s and eventually the T26 be purely for the CBG though?

And 1 FSS also, not with the other squadrons.

With the 31s used for tasks elsewhere. That is supposed to be the whole point of them according to the 1SL, apart from the obvious that there’s no money for 13 T26.

The RN can certainly form task groups but always seems to be deployed far and wide as singletons on standing tasks, which inevitably would include the assets you list for the CBG unless numbers increase.


Hi Daniele, I think you could cut this a number of ways, personally I would like to see T26 upgraded with Sampson and 13 built with a view to replace T45 in 15 years time. I also believe organisationally a squadron is 1 T26 and 2 T31’s and would really like to see T31’s take on ASW in the outer ring of carrier defence, with a JLAS (Joint logistic and amphib) holding the MHVC capability. Obviously the CBG can be added to as we see fit, but we should really set these up from the start to operate at full… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Both carriers will be crewed I believe. Oceans crew wrt needed for PoW and the RM establishment was also altered to create more posts. 2010 SDSR outlined how 1 would always be available with the other able to join in crisis. I believe only 1 can be furnished with a full air group unless numbers on one hull are transferred to the other hull reducing the complement of both? There are too few Merlin for both I fear. The second could be used in conjunction with the first in a LPH role too carrying Chinook CHF Merlin Wildcat and whatever… Read more »

Anthony D

Thanks Pacman, interestimg, I don’t know all the vessel types but get the gist. What about refit and work up time? Where would squadrons be based? What about standing NATo commitments?


I think we need to go to a 1 off 1 on system for all assets perhaps with 3 crews for each squadron and a spare carrier crew (which will probably be needed anyhow). It is essentially 6 squadrons + 2 carriers and you could assign any squadron to a carrier as you see fit really if we standardise the assets (T26/T31/ FFT/ JALS etc). It is then just a matter of rotating the 6 squadrons through our tasking and other commitments ensuring we ensure people get enough time at home. For me each becomes a mini fleet that takes… Read more »

John West

Any word on the progress of our first T26?

It’s all well and good talking about the PoW but we need the frigates and, let’s be honest, T31 ‘aint gonna happen any time soon.

Anthony D

I’ve been toying with an intervention force rotating through each carrier battle group, with the usual vessels.

Then a presence force, permanently stationed with crew flown in after work up on the UK, as follows:

UK and NATO standing groups. Rest.
Falklands. Opv and type 31.
Bahrain. MCM, Bay, type 31, opv.
Singapore. Type 31.

Daniele Mandelli

I’d like a few more support vessels for the RFA so the Bay’s can be released to actually conduct amphibious ops rather than being floating depots in the Middle East and disaster ships in the Caribbean.

Anthony D

Good point although at least the bahrain one is in most likely hot spot before the CBGs get there!

Anthony D

Forgot Carribbean. Bay and opv.


Career breaks , as you say, are not common. I can think of zero people I have worked with over the 3 and a bit decades I was in the mob who did it.
Best of luck to him…especially as he is probably on more at ACA than he was whilst serving.

Daniele Mandelli

Handy how the top brass can feather their nests cuddling up to the industry which supply them. Conflict of interests?


Should be banned in my opinion, these guys can go on assignment with their RN paid for by the industrial partner, but not pick and choose.

It should also be illegal for them to work in defence industry for 10 year post their last command.

This is for Colonel and above (and equivalent).

I just think its taking the piss – not as if they aren’t well paid by the MOD or anything.

john melling

Basically we ned to go back to the FLEET system like we used to have.

Home fleet
British Pacific Fleet
Indian Ocean (BIOT, and Bahrain)
Falkland Islands Task force
Others inc..Amphibious Ops

Permanently based in those areas

Wishful thing.


John I think this is where we are heading actually, or at least should. The RN should have 7 fleets or commands overall (6 surface and CASD). 6 Fleets of circa 11-12 major vessels – each commanded by an admiral and each containing 2 squadrons of 3 escorts and a range of Support assets (see above). From this I think we can generate the tasking required on a 1 on 1 off basis within each fleet and a rotation through the tasking so that everyone gets 6 month in home waters every 2-3 years. Now we have the carriers, my… Read more »

Anthony D

Pacman. This is a really interesting force structure. Have you thought about writing this up for ukdj? One issue for me is that a squadron would perhaps be overkill for commitments in the Carribbean and Falklands, where perhaps only a constabulary vessel and a store ship / gp frigate respectively would be required. Similarly, NATO standing groups would syphon off vessels from the home squadron. Would squadrons rotate through the theatres on a deployment or be ported in a theatre permanent? Could we fly crew back and forth? For me, each CBG should get 1/3 high end escorts, with the… Read more »

Anthony D

Well when 31/26 built at least! Also forgot giving UK squadron control of Poseidon!

Anthony D

Before we buy any additional hulls over this force structure, it might be better to up the lethality of the existing vessels by maxing out their weapon capability.


Anthony D I have actually modelled the whole UK defence force and costed it and sent to the MOD who said it was interesting. I have spent 2 year looking at MOD budgets and spending and have to say that I believe them to be a work of fiction. I am more than happy to put an article together for UKDJ on force structure, budget and organisation and would also say my primary goal is to make our armed forces better equiped and more lethal. Whilst the above can be achieved within current constraints – I do believe the UK… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I find it fascinating myself.

What interests me with this and that of Anthony’s above is that it is all current stuff in service or in the pipeline not a fantasy fleets exercise.

We our constantly decreasing assets we really need to organise them better. The army structure is an utter mess at the moment for example.


Daniele You are right and I have a fully costed force structure of under 250k personnel (including civilians that sees significant changes in capability and actually treats people far better than they ever have been. We need constant investment with no slippages and industry needs to be rewarded for success and punished for failure. Our days of cutting edge are gone – or at least not needed. What we need is to maintain industry and our defence forces with a critical mass that can be scaled up if we ever need it to be. We have about what we need,… Read more »