HMS Prince of Wales has undertaken her first port visit outside of the UK with a short stop in Gibraltar.

In a release here, the Royal Navy say that the overseas territory will host the Royal Navy aircraft carrier for a logistics stop over the next few days.

“The 65,000-tonne warship has spent the last few months on sea trials off the south coast of England after receiving a series of upgrades and enhancements throughout 2020. The ship recently rendezvoused with HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea for the first time and embarked her first F-35 Lightning jets. It puts both of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers at sea at the same time, making a significant contribution to NATO and promoting Global Britain.”

The Royal Navy also say that the visit comes as the Royal Navy’s forward basing programme continues.

“With HMS Trent operating from Gibraltar where she will support operations in the Mediterranean, work with our African partners including maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, and the French Navy as part of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.”

The ship’s recent busy period has included multiple milestones for the Portsmouth-based warship as she heads towards being a fully operational aircraft carrier.

This has included the embarkation of multiple aircraft squadrons including Apache attack helicopters of the Army Air Corps’ 656 Squadron and now the Wildcat maritime attack helicopters of 825 Naval Air Squadron.

You can read more on this from the Royal Navy here.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
47 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago

Cool picture!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 days ago

Wonder if they got any hassle from the Spaniards

Alex
Alex
5 days ago

Probably not this time

DRS
DRS
6 days ago

When is she due over the pond? Autumn? RN busy at the moment – good to see lot of soft power projection – ideally the newspapers/news would also report on this as a matter of fact.

Crabfat
Crabfat
6 days ago
Reply to  DRS

Well, you’ll get nowt from the BBC! See my rant under yesterday’s report about HMS QE and the CSG transitting the Suez Canal…

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  DRS

HI DRS, I think the RN is going to do most of the F35 integration work over this side of the pond due to COVID restrictions in the US. HMS QE really had to go to the US as we didn’t have the jets in the UK cover the work undertaken in the US at that time, especially as much of the work was certificating a new class of ship. We now have the OCU operational here in the UK and all of the type / ship class certification work was done by QE. Obviously, PoW needs to get her… Read more »

Noth
Noth
5 days ago
Reply to  DRS

DT-3 was meant to be undertaken by HMS Prince of Wales in the US this year, it appears it’s going to happen more in the UK. SRVL still needs more trialling.

2e
2e
6 days ago

No escorts?

Yes the CSG ahead has already cleared this route for subs and Artful is alongside in Gib, but no AAW cover?

2e
2e
6 days ago
Reply to  2e

any Merlin HM2s?

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
6 days ago
Reply to  2e

Are we at war?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  2e

They don’t need it. AEW for what? It’s in the Eastern Mediterranean for trials.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago

That tractor’s going to need a longer run up! 😀 

LongTime
LongTime
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

It fine it’s a “chitty chitty tractor” the wings deploy on takeoff😂

julian1
julian1
6 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

 😅 

Rob Richardson
Rob Richardson
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Doesn’t have the fuel for a longer run up anyway

Ian M
Ian M
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob Richardson

 👍 

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago

Excellent! So POW and Trent ( plus French assets) are the reincarnated West Africa squadron. Not before time. Sierra Leone has just sold China coastland to develop a fishing port. Not to mention ISIL / Boko Haram and co in Nigeria. Gulf of Guinea is an area of strategic interest for us. Chinooks and RM on POW can
influence a large area.

julian1
julian1
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Any loyalty to HMG for the intervention in 2000 soon disappeared then

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  julian1

I’m sure they were grateful. But the Chinese have money and as an independent country they do what they believe to be in their best interests. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..the Chinese have learned from Imperial GB and the East India company that you become a global power by buying your way in….the troops follow.

Last edited 6 days ago by Paul.P
Nathan
Nathan
6 days ago

We really could do with a catapult. It is quite limiting, in who can fly from her without them. It would enhance NATO interoperability significantly, if they’d been provided and even without out own F35s to operate from her presently, she could have been used as a floating air strip for allies.

julian1
julian1
6 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

she can still do that. At last count USMC, Italy, Japan, Singapore will operate F35B in addition to UK. And I’m sure more will be added. All you really mean is that there is no fixed wing inter-operability with the Marine National and USN because of lack of cats/traps

DaveyB
DaveyB
5 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Plus South Korea. Although Australia have said no for the moment, they have not completed dismissed the idea.

The Big Man
The Big Man
6 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

Not sure cats makes sense in reality. True in a perfect world cats and traps would be great, but there are so many good reasons why they are not there which have been covered many times on this site. Cats would have to be EMALS which would mean both carriers would still not be in service. Steam is not an option and has a lower cycle rate or sorties, whichever the term is. NATO interoperability? Who else has cats? France has one carrier with short cats which means no real interoperability with the US as the FA 18 is too… Read more »

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

I always wondered whether the F35B can be launched in more adverse weather conditions than a F35C with cat and traps? If you look at the Falklands the weather conditions were pretty atrocious but we managed to have a high tempo of aircraft sorties. I think the F35B might have a hidden benefit in terms of more availability in adverse weather conditions – certainly makes landing with the F35B much easier in those types of conditions. Thoughts appreciated on this note.

The Big Man
The Big Man
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I’m really not qualified to answer this, but I would assume the C variant requires more headwind to take off than the B which is a STOVL plane, although it is possible to VTOL, but has no practical benefit due to payload restrictions. So in great weather the C may have issues as it has no downward thrust vectoring ability.
From reading the big issue in the Falklands for the Argentines was lack of wind and so the Harrier ruled the sky. Obviously the other big issue for the Argentines was the superiority of the British military.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

I think the capability of the F35B in adverse weather conditions may have largely been overlooked by those seeing the extra payload and distance of the F35C as the major factors that are important. I really do believe that the F35B, and not fitting the carriers with cats and traps, will be the best decision the UK ever made. It makes us more integrated with the USMC as well which is another added bonus. I really do believe the F35B was a very wise decision overall.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

The reason why the Argentinians struggled so much was that the catapult on their carrier didn’t work properly and the piston set was in the UK for overhaul.

The Harrier and F35B can both operate in higher sea states than fixed wing plus catapults.

But, but, but the overriding factor is the perishability of cat’n’traps skills and the enormous costs of training retraining re-qualifying pilots to fly off them.

When we do get AAR drones the difference in performance will not be worth worrying about.

HMG seems on course to fund AAR drones possibly with medium weigh catapults.

simon alexander
simon alexander
6 days ago

I must of read it in posts here, the cost of training pilots on cats and traps was expensive. the F35b may outlive F35a’s and c’s. it was a lucky choice for us and most navies going for f35b.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago

The biggest problem a cats n traps carrier would have had in the Falklands would have been the landings. The sea states down there were horrendous. Trying to land on with the runway bouncing up and down like a fat kid on a trampoline. Have heard USN believe there carriers would have been able to cope because of the sheer usable length of there ships for landings. But that’s beyond my knowledge to comment on.
Sorry Simon clicked wrong person for reply.

Last edited 5 days ago by David Steeper
The Big Man
The Big Man
5 days ago

I was not aware of the cat issues.
Even so the issue of take off was compounded by a short deck on the Veinticinco, her relatively slow speed and a weather forecast for 12 to 24 hours of dead winds. After a sea harrier reconnaissance mission the Argentines were aware that the RN knew of their position and so headed north west for the relative safety of the Argentine coast. Then at 15.00 on May 2 HMS Conqueror sank the General Belgrano and the carrier never emerged again. (Clearly a lot more happened as well)

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

The catapult parts were in storage in the UK until the early 2000’s….we wouldn’t give them back….they wouldn’t pay for the storage…..I can remember how it was resolved in the end…..

Paul T
Paul T
5 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

While details are well beyond my paygrade note that the ‘C’ has a different Wing to the ‘A’ + ‘B’ Variants with a much greater Surface Area so wouldn’t expect any limitation/ degradation in Take Off and Landing Performance in marginal Weather Conditions compared to the ‘B’.Also regards interoperability the FA18 E/F can indeed land and take off from the CDG Carrier if needed (but not likely ) but the F35C cannot.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

VSTOL carrier’s can operate in more severe weather conditions. They can land in much heavier sea states. They can also launch aircraft quicker.

Johan
Johan
32 minutes ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Ok Heard this little Nugget from My work the other day as i deal with Crouzet, that the USMC prefer the QE Class for Flight operations for various reasons. But the main is the Ski Jump as reported by the Harrier Pilots it gives them a 50 ft height and a 10-sec head start to get the jet balanced. was a main benefit in the Falklands that the jets are higher and can operate if varied conditions.

Tams
Tams
6 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

This had been debated to death.

They aren’t getting catapults anytime soon and that’s fine. They are still plenty capable with lots of potential partners.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

The QE with UK and USMC F35’s is the finest example of NATO interoperability. F18’s don’t fly from the French carrier, Rafales don’t fly from US carrier’s, apart from a few deck landings and take-offs a few years ago. Zero deployments.

Airborne
Airborne
3 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

Why, to launch that little tractor?

Nic
Nic
6 days ago

I wonder have they any aircraft on board or a least a couple of helicopters.
Do we have enough aircraft between the RAF/FAA to crew both a the same time and I wonder if we have enough Navy crew for both.

Lusty
Lusty
6 days ago
Reply to  Nic

She has at least three Wildcat embarked as part of her trip. Some of them have already visited the RAF station.

Nic
Nic
6 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

.It’s a pity we didn’t have enough F35s available to give the crew some practice with aerial resources

Ron
Ron
5 days ago
Reply to  Nic

We do, I think its 207 sqn OCU. I am not sure but I don’t think all of 617 sqn deployed with HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Ron
Ron
5 days ago

Any idea what escorts she has with her?

Lusty
Lusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Ron

HMS Lancaster will come alongside Gibraltar today. HMS Artful is already there. Think of that what you will. 😛

Ron
Ron
5 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Thats a reasonable escort, thanks Lusty.

Lusty
Lusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Ron

You’re welcome.

david petch
david petch
5 days ago

bet that tub of a Spanish aircraft carrier will have gone into hi berating for the duration

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 day ago

With all these visits around the globe. Showing of force here and there around the globe. As well as regular commitments to different theatres around the world, is this the time to start thinking about a third Aircraft Carrier maybe?