Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier is now fully operational

The Royal Navy has declared its newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales fully operational after completing the international exercise off the Scottish coast.

As disclosed, the vessel completed two years of extensive training and it can now join its sister vessel HMS Queen Elizabeth on the world stage; the latter is currently beginning the second half of her maiden deployment commanding an international carrier strike group in the Pacific.

“This is a significant moment for the ship which will see us operate with fighter jets, helicopters, drones, and other vessel. We’ll achieve all of this by working with our friends and colleagues from the RAF, the British Army and across Defence to deliver our contribution for the UK as a problem-solving, burden-sharing partner nation,” said HMS Prince of Wales’ Commanding Officer Captain Steve Higham.

Thousands of military personnel from a dozen nations took part in the combined UK/NATO exercise Joint Warrior/Dynamic Mariner which ended yesterday, testing their abilities individually and collectively to deal with global events.

More than 20 warships and submarines, plus maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and thousands of military personnel from a dozen nations are taking part in the fortnight long combined exercise.

Prince of Wales and amphibious flagship HMS Albion led the RN participation, joined by frigates HMS Argyll and Lancaster – the latter fresh from operations in the Arctic – tanker RFA Tiderace, support ship RFA Mounts Bay, minehunter HMS Pembroke and a smattering of P2000 patrol craft.

After a week where the participating units get to know how to work together – there are half a dozen mini task groups operating off the Scottish coast – the exercise shifts up several gears in its second week as participants face wide-ranging challenging scenarios which mirror real-world events, such as evacuating civilians from a war zone.

HMS Prince of Wales returned to Portsmouth on 2 October.

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Photo: Photo: Royal Navy