Repairs to fix the beleaguered aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales are to cost £20m, according to reports.
In August 2022, the £3bn aircraft carrier broke down off the Isle of Wight as she was leaving Portsmouth for trials in the US and, since then, she has been undergoing repairs, meaning the huge carrier has now spent more time in dry dock than at sea.
The Sunday Times said that the costs to repair Britain's largest warship have now spiralled to £20m and the carrier will be stuck in a dry dock longer than expected although the carrier will commence her operational programme as planned in autumn 2023.
Inspections by divers and engineers found that the 33-tonne starboard propeller – which is the same weight as 30 Ford Fiesta cars – had malfunctioned, with a coupling that was 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 her to travel to Rosyth, where she was built, to undergo the repairs in dry dock.
It comes after a second, separate shaft on board HMS Prince of Wales was found to have "similar issues" to those which caused the aircraft carrier to retreat for repairs last year.
A Royal Navy spokesperson said: "We expect HMS Prince of Wales to commence her operational programme as planned in autumn 2023. This will include flying training and trials.
"An investigation is under way to establish the cause of the starboard shaft failure and once complete ministers will provide an update on the outcome."
The operational programme is expected to include exercises with the F-35B Lightning jets.