The Aircraft Carrier Alliance has successfully signed over the Ship’s Control Centre of HMS PRINCE OF WALES to her crew, 18 months ahead of when the ship is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy.

The Ship’s Control Centre (SCC) is often referred to as the heart of the ship. If the Bridge of a ship is considered its eyes, and the Operations room its brain, there is no doubt that the Ship’s Control Centre is the beating heart.  It is from the SCC that all machinery from propulsion to sewage is controlled by a team of Marine Engineers who are likely to man the compartment 24 hours a day, every day, until she decommissions.

According to the ACA, in a war fighting scenario the SCC becomes Head Quarters for the Internal Battle, where all the information from across the ship, be it fire, flood or casualty is reported, and priorities are set on where to send repair teams, all under the leadership of the Internal Battle Controller (Cdr Marine Engineer/Snr Marine Engineer). This all happens whilst fighting to maintain ‘Power to Command’, allowing the Ship to conduct her primary tasking, most likely launching and directing aerial strikes.

Sterry Matthews, ACA Production Manager, the lead for this area of the ship, said:

“This is a very proud day for us. Building the SCC was a big challenge but an important requirement to enabling the Test and Commissioning program. One of the main steps was assessing the compartment and sequencing every trade to go in and complete their scope. Every ACA partner supported through the process and ensured a high quality compartment was built at the end of the process.

Balfour Beatty, Networks, Aerius, Ticon, SSSL painters and cleaners done a superb job in getting the compartment to the standard it is in. Once this was completed, teams from Mission Systems, L-3, Marine Systems, GE, Test and Commissioning installed their kit to ensure the compartment was fully built.

The inspection process and the support the Quality Control team gave was invaluable. Their help with chasing paperwork, doing partial inspections, support and information helped us present a high quality finished compartment. This compartment was a challenge, but teamwork and excellent co-operation between all ACA partners made this a resounding success. Compartments are normally handed over after sea trials, so to achieve this at such an early stage, to the high quality and specification required by the Royal Navy, is a very significant milestone for the team.”


Cdr Pete Buckenham of the ship’s company, said:

“Taking ownership of the SCC and having the capability to operate and train on-board the ship this early is extremely exciting and will save us a vast amount of time. It will help accelerate our learning opportunities to ensure our people are ready to operate the ship in support of commissioning activity and well in advance of sea trials.”

Neil Holm, HMS Prince of Wales Programme Director, said:

“The completion and handover of the SCC at this stage of the programme is a fantastic achievement from the team and is testament to professionalism and commitment of the team, it marks the first phase of our strategy to complete and handover large and complex spaces to the Royal Navy early, enabling the commissioning programme, strengthening platform protection and accelerating on the job training for the team.

I am hugely proud of what the team have achieved today and it really highlights what can be achieved when all areas of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance work together against a common goal.”

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Rob Collinson

I assume this is an old picture?

It does look to be ready?

Sceptical Richard

Yea, we saw this at work in the documentary on QE1. It also houses the DCHQ. I did wonder at the time (and still do) how long these highly automated systems would last in a battle damage situation. The US navy of all navies still takes a fairly conservative view on this. They face a real challenge now with procurement of the FFX programme where all bidders are submitting designs with around 100 crew relying on very high degrees of automation. We all know that for many years, very large highly complex ships have been crewed by fifteen people, no… Read more »


I guess it will depend on the level of redundant systems embedded in the design. On where those systems run through the ships hull and just how big a hit she takes. Modern electronics are less susceptible to shock damage than the older stuff. I don’t think anyone is designing warships to soak up hits like the battleships of old so I suppose survivability is a bit of a global problem. I personally think the next gen of warships will be battleship designs, only with better anti air than the old ones. The day of the fighter bomber being a… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

Good news rarely gets reported! You’re right about modern ships not being designed to take punishment. I suppose it’s a game of percentages. What are the actual risks of a ship receiving a direct hit from a sizeable projectile? Probably quite low. Certainly lower than in the first and second world wars. And there is still nothing you can do to defend against a modern torpedo except not be hit. Then again, admiral Beaty might have had similar thoughts at Jutland… But every ship hit (properly) by a missile or a bomb in the Falklands eventually sunk or burned out.… Read more »


wouldn’t this be a good time to actually install phalanx? ‘big lizzie’ still hasn’t got hers

Sceptical Richard

They’ll get fitted in time for her first operational deployment, I suspect, not before. I suspect they will fit them and then want to test them before she deploys. But at this stage she is still involved in the early trials phase so no point having them on board requiring the embarkation of the support team as well.