Royal Navy personnel have become the first crew to join HMS Prince of Wales, currently being assembled in Rosyth, Scotland.
Twelve people, the first of the ship’s company, will work alongside industry “to learn about the ship, the equipment and the vast technological advances as she progresses through her build programme” ahead of sea trials which are expected in 2019.
Captain Simon Petitt, the Senior Naval Officer of both Queen Elizabeth Class carriers said:
“It is an honour to be in charge of a small but rapidly growing team. This is day 1 for the men and women who will serve in HMS Prince of Wales and I wish them every success in their journey.
Over 3 years ago, I had the privilege to welcome the first members of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Then only 10 in number, the Ship’s Company is now 370 strong. With every day, their team spirit, ethos and knowledge of the ship becomes stronger and I expect the same sense of pride from the HMS Prince of Wales team.”
In addition, new modular accommodation to house sailors working on the new supercarriers has been completed almost one month early.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is supporting the carrier programme by providing security, messing facilities and accommodation for the carrier’s crew. A total of 302 new cabins are now ready to be occupied by service personnel based at Rosyth.
HMS Prince of Wales is being assembled in Rosyth along with her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth which is being fitted out.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:
“I am delighted to see HMS Prince of Wales coming to life and welcoming her first crew on board. Both she and her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth are well on schedule to enter full service as the largest and most advanced aircraft carriers ever built for the Royal Navy.
From today, HMS Prince of Wales will be home to a growing complement of personnel, offering a clear demonstration of how our £178 billion investment in equipment is securing a bright future for our Armed Forces.”
The Queen Elizabeth class mark a change from expressing carrier power in terms of number of aircraft carried, to the number of sortie’s that can be generated from the deck. The class are not the largest class of carrier in the world but they are most likely the smallest and least expensive carrier the Royal Navy could build which still have the advantages that large carriers offer.