HMS Prince of Wales departure delayed from Portsmouth for historic first trip to sea as Royal Navy warship

THE departure of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales from Portsmouth to begin her next phase of sea trials has been delayed, it’s been announced.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 2:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 10:17 am

The 65,000-tonne warship arrived in Portsmouth at the end of last in November and was commissioned into the navy in December during a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.

She was due to set sail from Portsmouth Naval Base at 1.50pm today for the first time as a Royal Navy-flagged warship.

However that has since been delayed and HMS Prince of Wales will not leave her home today.

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It’s understood the £3.1bn supercarrier will be conducting her next phase of sea tests ahead of her first trials with the F-35 stealth jet, anticipated to take place later in the year.

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Naval engineers will put the behemoth through her paces at sea, testing everything from her propulsion, to sophisticated weapons systems.

Prince of Wales will stop at Liverpool for a week-long visit, arriving on the River Mersey on Friday, February 28.

HMS Prince of Wales at Portsmouth Naval Base. Picture: Sarah Standing (030220-5222)

The warship will become the first of the navy’s two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers to open up to the public.

Speaking last week, Captain Darren Houston, Prince of Wales’s commanding officer, said: ‘My ship’s company and I are hugely excited about our first visit to Liverpool.

‘This is an opportunity for us to cement our bond with the city as one of the newest warships in the Royal Navy’s fleet.

‘We’re looking forward to hosting people from the local community on board during our time alongside, and I know we will receive the warmest of welcomes.’

Excitement is already building ahead of the historic trip to Liverpool.

Councillor Wendy Simon, the city’s deputy mayor and tourism boss, said it was a ‘huge coup’ for the city.

‘The sheer scale of the ship will be a real spectacle on the River Mersey and is set to attract national and international attention, drawing massive crowds,’ she said.

Prince of Wales is the largest warship ever built for the navy, being slightly heavier than her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

She has a lifespan of 50 years, a crew of more than 700 and can travel 500 miles a day.