The Royal Navy spent £39m repairing and maintaining its aircraft carriers in 2020, new figures have shown.
HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are the Royal Navy's largest and most powerful ships ever built.
Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin revealed the upkeep costs for the £3bn aircraft carriers following a parliamentary question by Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces Stephen Morgan.
The figures show £18m was spent on maintenance for HMS Queen Elizabeth, with £3.5m for repairs and £2m for engineering supervision.
The maintenance bill for the Prince of Wales was £11m, with £2.5m for repairs and £2m for engineering supervision.
Mr Quin’s response stated that the maintenance included work to the flight deck coatings, with repairs including work to correct “operational defects”.
The costs include repairs to HMS Prince of Wales after it suffered two leaks.
He added: “The costs of the repairs to HMS Prince of Wales as a result of the flooding incident in October 2020 will largely be accounted for in this calendar year.”
The Prince of Wales suffered its second leak in October which forced it to postpone a trip to the US to exercise with F35B Lightning jets and which has left it in base possibly until May, 2021.
A video also emerged in May 2020 of water pouring through the ceiling into an accommodation area on board the Prince of Wales.
HMS Prince of Wales was opened to the public for the first time during the visit to Liverpool, in October.
Sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth had to cut short sea trials in July 2019 after a seal burst, causing a large quantity of water to pour from a pipe and to flood through several decks.
Following the incident, Queen Elizabeth’s then-commanding officer Captain Steve Moorhouse said it was safe and that in his experience leaks were a “weekly” problem for warships.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: “The aircraft carriers are hugely complex and investing in regular maintenance ensures they will protect the UK and its interests for decades to come.
“This year HMS Prince of Wales will conduct further trials and training, while HMS Queen Elizabeth sails on her inaugural operational deployment to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and east Asia region.”
The £3.2bn aircraft carrier was described as being "on the cusp of operations" last year and formed a UK Carrier Strike Group for the first time in the North Sea in October as part of NATO's Exercise Joint Warrior.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to reach Full Operating Capability by December 2023, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.
Cover image: HMS Queen Elizabeth sails past HMS Prince of Wales (Picture: Royal Navy).