Navy’s new aircraft carrier to sail into home port for first time

Britain’s second and newest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is set to sail into its home port of Portsmouth for the first time.

The £3.1 billion warship left Rosyth dockyard in Scotland, where it was built, in September before undergoing eight weeks of sea trials.

Shipping lanes into Portsmouth Harbour will be closed and an air exclusion zone put in place for the arrival of the 65,000-tonne ship.

The carrier’s sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, also based at Portsmouth Naval Base, is currently on a visit to the US to undergo trials of the F35 fighter jets ahead of its first operational deployment planned for 2021.

HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales cost more than £3 billion (BAE Systems/PA)

Major upgrade work has been carried out at the jetties at Portsmouth so that the two giant ships can berth next to each other.

During their 50-year service, the two 280-metre long aircraft carriers can be pressed into action for various work such as high intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

They have been 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.

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