QE-class aircraft carriers

Major milestone for HMS Prince of Wales with Chinook landing

Aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has marked a 1,000th landing milestone after a recent RAF Chinook safe set-down.

Leading Aircraft Handler Tom Lenszner safely guided 27 Squadron's Chinook ZD 984 down onto the deck of the Portsmouth-based carrier during the ship's first spell at sea in 2022.

The Royal Navy formally assumed command of the maritime part of the NATO Response Force, raising the NATO flag earlier this month ready to act as the alliance's command ship throughout the year.

Crewed by Flight Lieutenant John Parry, Flight Lieutenant Andrew Broadhead, Sergeant McClymont and Master Aircrew Jones, the 1,000th deck landing comes less than two-and-a-half years after the first touchdown – a Merlin Mk2 on 23 September 2019.

27 Squadron's Flt Lt Parry called it a "massive privilege" to share the milestone with the ship.

He said: "As a Welshman, to deploy on to the Prince of Wales, the largest warship the Royal Navy has ever operated, has been amazing.

"And to top it off with the 1,000th deck landing is something I'll enjoy back in the crew room with my fellow aviators."

The landing was part of broader training by the helicopter squadron from RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

Three Chinooks are embarked on the carrier as their aircrew earn deck qualifications deeming them safe to operate from Prince of Wales by day and night.

Watch: HMS Prince of Wales departing for Portsmouth for NATO duties earlier this month.

As well as the RAF, the ship has been joined by Wildcats of the Fleet Air Arm's 825 Naval Air Squadron, also getting their sea legs in home waters.

Once her work-up for NATO command ship duties are complete, Prince of Wales is due back in Portsmouth next month when she will prepare for her debut in the High North.

She will embark Commander Strike Forces, Rear Admiral Mike Utley, and his team while they undertake the Norwegian-led exercise Cold Response with NATO partners and allies.