HMS Prince of Wales arriving in Portsmouth
Sea vessels

HMS Prince Of Wales To Return To Operations 'By May'

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier suffered two leaks in 2020 but is set to return to operations this year.

HMS Prince of Wales arriving in Portsmouth

Britain's newest aircraft carrier will be ready to return to operations "by May" of this year, a minister has confirmed. 

The £3.1bn HMS Prince of Wales has been undergoing repairs worth an estimated £3.3m after a flood in an engine room.

The flood, which happened in October last year, came only months after another leak on board the ship.

In a written answer to Parliament on Thursday, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said: "I can confirm that HMS Prince of Wales will be ready for her planned return to operations by May 2021, when she will undertake activities in UK waters prior to her commencing NATO Command duties in 2022."

Mr Heappey previously said in December that the ship "will return to sea in May 2021 to commence preparations for her next planned operational tasking".

HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet in December 2019.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is HMS Prince of Wales' sister ship (Picture: Royal Navy).

Her sister ship, Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, suffered a major leak in July 2019, with more than 200 tonnes of water pouring into the vessel.

The two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are the most powerful ships ever built for the Navy, together costing more than £6bn.

Despite being relatively new vessels, it was revealed the Navy spent £39m repairing and maintaining its aircraft carriers in 2020.

Cover image: Library picture of HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth (Picture: PA).