Royal navy's £3.1bn HMS Prince of Wales sets sail from her home port

Bon voyage ‘Big Charlie’! Royal navy’s newest aircraft carrier the £3.1bn 65,000-tonne warship HMS Prince of Wales sets sail from her home port for the first time carrying 700 crew

  • Crowds lined up at Portsmouth Harbour to wave off the 65,000 tonne, £3.1billion HMS Prince Wales today
  • HMS Prince of Wales is a 919ft aircraft carrier – and its one of two in the new Queen Elizabeth class of ships 
  • The ship set sail from her home port for the first time today, to head to Liverpool, which is an affiliated city
  • In Liverpool, members of the public will be able to step on board the HMS Prince of Wales on February 29 

The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales set sail from her home port for the first time today, to visit Liverpool.

Crowds lined the sea walls of Portsmouth Harbour to wave off the 65,000 tonne, £3.1billion warship as she left for the week-long stay in the city, which is expected to start from February 28.

Captain Darren Houston, the commanding officer of the ship which is also affiliated with Bristol, said: ‘My ship’s company and I are hugely excited about our first visit to Liverpool.

‘This is an opportunity for us to cement our bond with the city as one of the newest warships in the Royal Navy’s fleet.

‘We’re looking forward to hosting people from the local community on board during our time alongside, and I know we will receive the warmest of welcomes.’

Members of the public will be able to step on board the Prince of Wales on February 29 which is the first opportunity for people to visit one of the navy’s two new giant aircraft carriers.

 HMS Prince of Wales leaving Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time heading for a visit to its affiliated city of Liverpool

The public will be able to step on board the Prince of Wales on February 29 which is the first opportunity for people to visit one of the navy’s two new giant aircraft carriers

The 65,000-tonne warship arrived in Portsmouth at the end of last in November and was commissioned into the navy in December during a ceremony attended by Prince Charles

The HMS Prince of Wales, which is taller than Nelson’s Column and has a flight deck the size of three football pitches, will have at least 700 people serving on board and the capacity to hold around 1,600 personnel

HMS Prince of Wales is a 919ft carrier – one of two in the new Queen Elizabeth class of ships – and can be put into action for work such as high-intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief. 

The carrier, which is taller than Nelson’s Column and has a flight deck the size of three football pitches, will have at least 700 people serving on board and the capacity to hold around 1,600 personnel. 

HMS Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth are the Navy’s largest and most powerful ships ever built

  • HMS Prince of Wales and her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth are the largest and most powerful ships ever built for the Royal Navy.
  • The two aircraft carriers cost a combined £6.2billion and replaced HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious, which have been decommissioned.
  • Both are more than 900ft (280m) long and 230ft (70m) wide, and have four-acre flight decks big enough for almost three full-size football pitches.
  • Each weighs 65,000 tons and has a top speed of more than 25 knots. They are capable of travelling 500 miles a day.
  • There are nine decks from the hull to the flight deck, rising to 16 decks at the ships’ highest points.
  • Once fully operational, each will house a crew of up to 1,600 service personnel.
  • The sister carriers each have two 33-tonne propellers which produce enough power to run 1,000 family cars, or 50 high speed trains.
  • They both have capacity for 36 of the new F35-B Lightning II fighter jets.
  • The jets can be lifted from the below-deck hangar to the deck in just 60 seconds.
  • Weapons systems onboard will be capable of firing 3,000 rounds per minute at incoming adversaries.
  • Long-range radars can track up to 1,000 aerial targets from up to 250 nautical miles away.
  • Type 997 Artisan 3D medium range radars can track a target the size of a snooker ball from a distance of 12 miles.

It will also be able to carry 36 jets and four helicopters, as well as enough food to last 45 days. 

The news comes after a previous window for her to leave, last week, was cancelled. 

Naval engineers will put the behemoth through her paces at sea, testing everything from her propulsion, to sophisticated weapons systems. 

Prince of Wales will stop at Liverpool for a week-long visit, arriving on the River Mersey on Friday, February 28. 

Deputy mayor and Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: ‘It’s a huge coup for Liverpool to welcome its affiliated ship HMS Prince of Wales on its inaugural, history-making visit.

‘The sheer scale of the ship will be a real spectacle on the River Mersey and is set to attract national and international attention, drawing massive crowds.

‘Maritime events always prove to be hugely popular in Liverpool, and this will be no exception.

‘Once again our world heritage waterfront will provide the incredible backdrop for a striking vessel, and we look forward to welcoming her at the end of the month.’ 

In December, the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla attended an official commissioning ceremony to formally welcome the aircraft carrier into the Royal Navy. 

A cheeky cake was presented to them to mark the occasion, which had figurine of Prince Charles was placed on top of it.

The figurine was next to one of a sailor with a placard saying ‘This time it’s HMS…’ and another of Camilla saying ‘him’, pointing to Charles.

The joke referenced the Queen being shown cheeky cake characters of her and a sailor holding up ‘HMS’ and ‘Me’ signs when she officially welcomed HMS Prince of Wales’s sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth in December 2017.   

To celebrate the day, Charles, 71 – who joked with his former shipmates from HMS Bronington, a minesweeper he commanded in the 1970s – was also given a new title by the Navy of Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers.

The Duchess of Cornwall, 72, who is the ship’s sponsor, told around 3,000 people at the ceremony – including former SAS serviceman Bear Grylls – that it is ‘the beginning of an exciting new era in our long naval history.’

Naval engineers will put the behemoth through her paces at sea, testing everything from her propulsion, to sophisticated weapons systems

The HMS Prince of Wales will stop at Liverpool for a week-long visit, arriving on the River Mersey on Friday, February 28

She said the carrier ‘joins a Navy which has protected this nation’s shores, and its interests across the globe, for over five centuries’, adding: ‘The sheer scale and size of HMS Prince of Wales is simply breathtaking.

‘Just to give you a comparison, Clarence House would fit nearly 25 times onto the flight deck. May I say how pleased I am that this great ship shares my husband’s name.

‘And now, as Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers, I am delighted that he will have an even stronger link to this ship and her sister.’ 

The duchess added that the HMS Prince of Wales, along with its HMS Queen Elizabeth sister carrier, are ‘the largest and most advanced ships ever to fly the White Ensign’.

She added: ‘We remember, with great sorrow, the loss of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and so many of her ship’s company off the eastern coast of Malaya on this day in 1941. 78 years on, we now stand proudly before her successor.’

In December, the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla attended an official commissioning ceremony to formally welcome the aircraft carrier into the Royal Navy

The HMS Prince of Wales has more than 28,000 rashers of bacon on board the aircraft carrier, as well as 12,000 tins of beans

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO EXPAND. The Queen Elizabeth class features HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales 

A graphic shows how the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers – which includes two vessels; the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – can produce 500 tonnes of fresh water from sea water daily

Figurines of Camilla and Charles on a cake during the commissioning ceremony of HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth in December

Prince Charles and Camilla along with Captain Darren Houston at the official commissioning ceremony in Portsmouth in December

Camilla looked elegant in a duck egg coat as she met with sailors at the HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth back in December

Members of the ship’s company focused at the commissioning ceremony for the vessel in Portsmouth in December

The carrier is the eighth Navy vessel to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales.

The duchess’ role as the carrier’s lady sponsor is ‘akin to being a godmother’, according to a Navy spokesman, and means she will attend significant events ‘during the life of the ship’.

Major upgrade work has been carried out on the jetties at Portsmouth so that the two giant ships can berth next to each other. 

Both ships were constructed in Rosyth, Scotland. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the Royal Navy. The enormous warship is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.

The flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth comes in at four acres, equivalent to two football pitches, and will be used to launch the brand new F35s jet. Four jets can be moved from the hangar to the flight deck in one minute.

As well as state-of-the-art weaponry and communications systems, HMS Queen Elizabeth has five gyms, a chapel and a medical centre. She has a top speed of 32 knots (59 km/h) and a range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000km).

Prince of Wales’ strike force: Lightning II F-35 fighter jets with speed of 1,200 mph and a killer punch

The HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth both have capacity for 36 of the new F35-B Lightning II fighter jets.  Here are some facts and figures about the fighter jets which are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk:

– The jet measures 51.2ft (15.6m) in overall length, has a wingspan of 35ft (10.7m) and a height of 14.3ft (4.36m).

– It has a top speed of 1.6 Mach or 1,200 mph, a Max G rating of 7G, and a combat radius of 518 miles (833km).

– Lockheed Martin, the American company building the jet, describes its stealth capabilities as ‘unprecedented’. Its airframe design, advanced materials and other features make it ‘virtually undetectable to enemy radar’.

 

– Britain has committed to a £9.1 billion programme to buy 48 of the jets by 2025 – with a pledge to purchase 138 – they will be jointly operated by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots.

– The F-35B jets are built from more than 300,000 individual parts.

– The UK’s supersonic aircraft have been based in the US since their manufacture.

– There are six distributed aperture system sensors around the jet – two underneath, two on top of the aircraft and one either side of the nose. These infrared cameras feed real-time information and images into the pilot’s helmet, allowing them to see through the airframe.

– All variants of the jets are mainly constructed on Lockheed Martin’s mile-long production line in Fort Worth, Texas.

– It takes 58,000 man hours to build each F-35B.

– The F-35 can launch from land, and will take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth via the skip jump ramp, which has been designed to optimise the launch.

– Maximum thrust tops 40,000lb and the jet has a range of 900 nautical miles.

– The jet is capable of two types of ship landing – vertically on to the deck, and also through the shipborne rolling vertical landing, which using forward air speed, allows the aircraft to bring back several thousand pounds of extra weight to the ship.

– The warplanes will carry out missions from the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

– Lockheed Martin said across the 3,000 jets being built, 15% of each one is comprised of parts from British companies.

– Some of the UK companies with contracts to produce parts of jets includes Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Ultra Electronics, Selex, Cobham and GE Aviation.

– Lockheed Martin UK chief executive Peter Ruddock said that, to date, the F-35 programme has generated 13.5 billion dollars in contracts for British suppliers.

– HMS Queen Elizabeth weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots, its flight deck is 919ft (280m) long and 230ft (70m) wide – enough space for three football pitches.

Source: Read Full Article