Local media has reported that the Prince of Wales will visit HMS Prince of Wales today in Rosyth.
The Dunfermline Press report that “The Duke of Rothesay will tour of the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which is under construction at Rosyth Dockyard.”
HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier under construction for the Royal Navy, with plans for active service from 2020. She is the eighth Royal Navy ship to have the name HMS Prince of Wales. Construction of the ship began in 2011 at Rosyth Dockyard and, as of April 2016, is said to be around 80% structurally complete.
Unlike most large aircraft carriers, Prince of Wales is not fitted with catapults and arrestor wires and is instead designed to operate V/STOL aircraft; the ship can carry up to 60 F-35B’s and helicopters for airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare. The design emphasises flexibility, with accommodation for 250 Royal Marines and the ability to support them with attack helicopters and troop transports up to and larger than Chinook size.
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 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, 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 which was published in November 2015.
Prince of Wales is set to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019, and be fully ready for front-line duties around the globe from 2023.