HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the Royal Navy’s two future flagships being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, was officially named today during a ceremony at the Rosyth Naval Dockyard in Scotland.
The ship’s new sponsor, Camilla, The Duchess of Rothesay, followed Royal Navy tradition by triggering a bottle of 10-year-old whisky from the Laphroaig distillery in the Isle of Islay, smashing it against the ship’s hull.
Prince Charles, who shares a title with the £3bn vessel, watched as his wife carried out the duty.
This significant milestone comes just three weeks after the first aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth made her first entry into her home port of Portsmouth as part of her maiden sea trials programme.
The ship will be the eighth in the Royal Navy to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales, honouring Britain’s history as a seafaring nation from the Sixth Rate gun ship in 1693 to the ‘King George V’ Class Battleship that fought in World War II.
With a crew of 679, HMS Prince of Wales is expected to carry out sea trials in 2019 before entering Royal Navy service. The 900ft-long (280m) warship is externally complete but it will take 18 months to fit its internal systems.
The first seagoing captain of the new aircraft carrier will be Stephen Moorhouse. Captain Ian Groom, who is currently serving as the Senior Naval Officer on board HMS Prince of Wales, will be handing over to Moorhouse next year.
There are also currently 150 Royal Navy and RAF personnel continuing F-35 aircraft training in the United States.
By the end of this year it is planned that the UK will have 14 of these fast jets, the World’s most sophisticated fighter, with initial flight trials from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth planned for 2018.
The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence.
Overall, six shipyards around the UK – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne – have been involved in building various parts of the carriers.