Sea vessels

Apache Helicopters Join HMS Prince Of Wales For Trials

The three British Army Apaches will develop take-off and landing capabilities with the aircraft carrier.

Apache helicopters are undergoing trials with HMS Prince of Wales, one of the Royal Navy's two aircraft carriers.

Three 'flying tanks' from the Army Air Corps (AAC) joined the 65,000-tonne vessel last week at her Portsmouth harbour for extensive tests.

The gunships from the dedicated maritime unit 656 Squadron, 4 Regiment AAC, are practising take-off and landing skills from the deck of HMS Prince of Wales.

Ground crew supporting and maintaining the aircraft will also aim to hone their skills at sea.

Increasing the range of aircraft at its disposal, HMS Prince of Wales was joined this week by F-35 fighter jets for the first time.

This training also marked the first time an Apache and an F-35 have operated from the same flight deck.

HMS Prince of Wales returned to the south coast last month after conducting sea and aviation trials.

Preparing for full operational status, she is one of two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – together costing more than £6bn.

Her sister ship, Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, welcomed Army Apaches on board in 2019, with the Army striving for complete compatibility with the most powerful ships ever built for the Navy.

HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth for her maiden deployment last month, leading the UK's Carrier Strike Group for the first time on the global mission while HMS Prince of Wales continues to work towards being declared operational.

Cover image: An Army Air Corps Apache working with HMS Prince of Wales (Picture: MOD).