HMS Prince of Wales sailing back into Portsmouth Naval Base
QE-class aircraft carriers

Repairs to HMS Prince of Wales will continue until spring

HMS Prince of Wales sailing back into Portsmouth Naval Base

HMS Prince of Wales will be out of action until the springtime as the aircraft carrier undergoes repairs.

A spokesperson for the Royal Navy said: "Repairs to HMS Prince of Wales' starboard shaft are expected to be completed by spring 2023. The ship will then return to Portsmouth for a pre-planned maintenance period."

The £3bn warship broke down off the Isle of Wight in August after sailing from Portsmouth Naval Base to take part in flight trials and diplomatic visits in the US.

Inspections by divers and engineers found that the 33-ton starboard propeller – the same weight as 30 Ford Fiesta cars – had malfunctioned, with a coupling holding it in place breaking.

The 65,000-tonne ship was brought back to Portsmouth for further examination by engineers from Babcock before the decision was taken for it to travel to Rosyth, where it was built, to undergo the repairs in dry dock.

HMS Prince of Wales in drydock.
HMS Prince of Wales is in Rosyth, where she was built, as repairs are being carried out on her starboard shaft (Picture: Royal Navy).

The propeller shaft is made up of a number of 'steel poles' joined together, with the engine on one end and the propeller on the other.

Each of the poles is joined together with a 'shaft coupling' which is where the fault had been identified on the carrier.

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