HMS Prince Of Wales alongside HMS Lancaster Declared Fully Operational 29092021 Credit Royal Navy.jpg
HMS Prince Of Wales at sea with HMS Lancaster (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

HMS Prince Of Wales Has 'Jumped The Final Hurdle' And Declared Fully Operational

The £3.2bn HMS Prince of Wales will join her sister HMS Queen Elizabeth for duties around the globe after being declared fully operational.

HMS Prince Of Wales alongside HMS Lancaster Declared Fully Operational 29092021 Credit Royal Navy.jpg
HMS Prince Of Wales at sea with HMS Lancaster (Picture: Royal Navy).

The UK now has two aircraft carriers ready for duties as HMS Prince of Wales has been declared fully operational.

The fortnight-long Exercise Joint Warrior wrapped up two years of intensive training for the Portsmouth-based warship and her 700-plus crew, as well as the Royal Navy and RAF squadrons who will operate aircraft from her flight deck – including the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning stealth fighter.

She is due to return to HM Naval Base Portsmouth this weekend. 

HMS Prince of Wales will now be able to join her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth on operations.

The Royal Navy flagship is currently on the second half of her maiden deployment leading the Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) in the Pacific.

HMS Prince of Wales' Commanding Officer, Captain Steve Higham, said: "We have excitingly jumped the final hurdle and are now a fully-fledged strike carrier, ready at 30 days' notice for operations around the globe.

"This is a significant moment for the ship which will see us operate with fighter jets, helicopters, drones, and other vessels.

"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.

"The whole Prince of Wales team are grateful for the support of our followers, our families and our friends and hope that they keep following us towards our first deployment."

The final act of the new carrier's preparation for operations was her participation in the largest military exercise hosted in the UK this autumn.

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

Last month, the Royal Navy remained quiet on HMS Prince Of Wales' 'encounter' with a Russian warship while she was taking part in Joint Warrior off the northwest coast of Scotland.

Former Prime minister, David Cameron who invested in the latest aircraft carrier seven years ago whilst in office, congratulated the accomplishment.

On Twitter, he said HMS Prince of Wales becoming fully operational was "a proud moment for the Royal Navy and all our Armed Forces".