HMS Prince of Wales
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HMS Prince Of Wales' Ops Room Ready For Use

Crew will use the room to look out for threats and track the movements of the carrier’s F-35B jets and Merlin helicopters.

HMS Prince of Wales

The second carrier in the Queen Elizabeth-class is due to be commissioned in 2020 (Image: PA).

The operations room of the HMS Prince of Wales, the sister vessel of HMS Queen Elizabeth, is ready for ‘flashing up’ for the first time.

The crew of HMS Prince of Wales will use the room to look out for threats and track the movements of the carrier’s F-35B jets and Merlin helicopters.

This could be in a number of capacities, from intercepting hostile aircraft to striking land-based targets.

Three Commando Merlin Mark 4 helicopters joined HMS Queen Elizabeth last Monday as part of Exercise West Lant 18 - the journey to the US, ready to begin flight trials.

Engineers and technicians, alongside Royal Navy experts, have now made sure that all the equipment and cabling is in place and that computer systems are able to communicate the masses of data coming into the ship.

HMS Prince of Wales Nerve Centre
The ops room is the nerve centre of the carrier (Image: Royal Navy).

Chief Petty Officer Greg Connor, the Ops Room manager, said allowing his team to move into the complex was "a momentous occasion".

"This milestone represents the heart of the warfare fighting elements of the ship coming to fruition," he said.

“The Warfare Department now has its sights firmly set on preparing the ship and team as more and more systems are brought online.”

Handing the compartment over to the ship’s company was production manager David Scott; he explained:

“The operations complex has been over three years in the making for me - and much longer for others.

HMS Prince Of Wales Operation centre
Crew will use the room to look out for threats (Image: Royal Navy).

“We had some of the best workforce available to us and with the team taking ownership of the area, we are able to deliver the compartments ahead of time and to a much higher standard than that previously achieved.

“This demonstrates to all that we can step up to the toughest challenges on this project and that’s credit to all those who have supported me.”

It’s the latest key part of the ship to be finished and handed over to the crew to run; watches are now being run in the Ship Control Centre, which oversees the marine engineering aspects of the carrier.

More than 3,000 compartments of the ship have to be signed off before the carrier leaves her berth at Rosyth to undergo sea trials next year.