The UK Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales (R09), has sailed from Rosyth Dockyard for the first time.
Eight years after her first steel was cut, the 65,000 tonne warship will head under the iconic Forth Bridges later this week to begin her initial sea trials.
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Prince of Wales’ departure from Rosyth is a landmark moment for the carrier programme. As the ship takes the next step to becoming fully operational, she carries with her the story of Britain’s maritime might. This tremendous achievement is a testament to the talent of British industry and I look forward to the moment we can welcome her into the Royal Navy family.”
The carrier will conduct extensive sea trials off the coast of North East Scotland upon departing Rosyth before arriving at her home port of Portsmouth later this year. Upon her entry to Portsmouth, she will be officially commissioned into the Royal Navy by her Lady Sponsor and sit alongside her sister ship for the first time. The ship’s sponsor is Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Charles, Prince of Wales.
The Prince of Wales is only the second ship in the world after HMS Queen Elizabeth to be built from the hull upwards, specifically to operate the fifth generation F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter jet.
The ship has emerged from build two years after her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is currently transiting the Atlantic to Canada. The deployment, known as WESTLANT19 is an Operational Trial to be conducted with UK F-35Bs off the East Coast of the US.