Sea vessels

HMS Prince Of Wales: Aircraft Carrier Arrives In Portsmouth For First Time

HMS Prince of Wales' arrival means Portsmouth Naval Base is now home to two aircraft carriers.

The second of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales, has arrived in Portsmouth for the first time.

Thousands of people lined the city's sea walls to welcome the Queen Elizabeth-class ship as two Hawk jets and a Wildcat helicopter completed a flypast.

Shipping lanes were closed and an air exclusion zone was put in place as part of security measures for the arrival.

Sailors stood on the £3.1 billion aircraft carrier's flight deck as it approached Portsmouth Naval Base.

Captain Darren Houston, the Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, said: "Our first entry to Portsmouth represents the successful culmination of the build and sea trials period in which my ship’s company and industry partners have worked so closely together to bring HMS Prince of Wales into service with the fleet.

"I am extremely proud of them and their families for their perseverance, patience, and extraordinary efforts."

People watch on as HMS Prince of Wales arrives in Portsmouth for the first time 161119 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY.jpg
People watch on as HMS Prince of Wales arrives in Portsmouth for the first time (Picture: Royal Navy).

Air Engineering Technician Ben Daniels, one of the 600-strong crew on board along with 300 contractors, said: "I feel immensely proud to be a member of HMS Prince of Wales' ship's company while the ship is heading into its home port for the first time.

"It is a historic moment for the Royal Navy and I am looking forward to many years of service on this incredible ship."

HMS Prince of Wales set sail from Rosyth dockyard in September and underwent around eight weeks of sea trials.

During the trials, the ship had its speed and propulsion systems put to the test and was also tested in rougher sea conditions.

The carrier faced waves of up to 20 feet and passed through them "relatively untroubled", according to the Royal Navy.

Its flight deck was also used for the first time, with a Merlin helicopter becoming the first aircraft to land on the ship.

In the last couple of weeks, she also trialled a new green waste system.

The ship completed its first stage of sea trials nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

HMS Prince of Wales arriving into Portsmouth for the first time with tug SD Tempest
The aircraft carrier arrived with the special carrier tug, SD Tempest (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Prince of Wales, which is 280 metres long and weighs 65,000 tonnes, is expected to be formally commissioned before the end of the year.

Her arrival means Portsmouth Naval Base is now home to two aircraft carriers.

The yard has been modernised to accommodate the two ships, with £30 million spent on strengthening and upgrading the base’s Victory Jetty.

HMS Prince of Wales’ sister ship, Queen Elizabeth, is currently undergoing flight trials with British F-35B aircraft off the coast of the United States.