HMS Prince of Wales floated out of drydock at Rosyth. Video courtesy of BAE Systems.
In an operation that started earlier this week, the dry dock was filled with water to allow HMS Prince of Wales to float into the waters of the non-tidal basin for the first time. In a two hour operation, using eight tugs, she was then manoeuvred out of the dock with just 1.5ft clearance at either side. HMS Prince of Wales is now berthed at a nearby jetty, where the team will continue to outfit the ship and steadily bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2019.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:
“This is an important moment in the monumental programme to build these two magnificent ships. I would like to thank the 10,000 people from across the UK who have helped us make such progress during 2017 on both HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES.”
Sir Simon Lister, Managing Director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said:
“2017 has been a remarkable year for the 10,000 men and women who have been involved in the design and construction of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. This milestone marks a significant moment in HMS PRINCE OF WALES’ build programme and I would like to pay tribute to all those who have dedicated their efforts to this great national endeavour.
The ship is already benefiting from the lessons learned in the construction of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, which is testament to the skills of the British shipbuilding industry and proves that we still have what it takes to be a great maritime industrial nation.”
Captain Ian Groom, Senior Naval Officer, said:
“The effort from our industry colleagues, Ministry of Defence and Naval personnel to get us to this point has been immense. It has been a massive team effort and I am proud of every individual contribution. It is a fitting end to the Year of the Navy to have HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH commissioned and HMS PRINCE OF WALES undocked and afloat for the first time.
As the second of her class, HMS PRINCE OF WALES is of strategic significance, ensuring continuous carrier strike capability. Working as one team, we are delivering an unmistakable sign of commitment to the defence of our great nation and that of our allies.”