UK’s newest aircraft carrier prepares for front-line operations

Britain’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has departed its Portsmouth base to prepare for future front-line operations.

HMS Prince Of Wales at sea. Photo: Royal Navy

HMS Prince of Wales sailed on 5 September 2021 from Portsmouth to perform concerted training with fifth-generation F-35 Lightning stealth fighters, and its first participation in the largest military exercise in the UK, Joint Warrior, off the Scottish coast.

“The first will pave the way for front-line carrier operations, the second will test her ability to work alongside other naval, Air Force and Army assets and broader task group operations,” according to the navy.

The carrier recently completed intensive training around the UK, including the first embarkation of F-35 Lightning stealth fighters, and a debut visit to Gibraltar.

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“During our previous period of generation, we were able to test the procedures, equipment and most importantly our people in preparation for future Carrier Strike operations.  Many lessons were learnt and will be taken forward,” said Captain Steve Higham, HMS Prince of Wales’ Commanding Officer.

The navy will perform large-scale flight deck operations with HMS Prince of Wales similar to those of its sister vessel HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently leading an international task group in the Philippine Sea.

“HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth are in constant communication to ensure that any lessons identified by either ship are capitalised upon,” explained Higham.