HMS Prince of Wales: Royal Navy aircraft carrier to sail into Portsmouth today
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 this afternoon.
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.
Portsmouth Naval Base has confirmed HMS Prince of Wales will pass by the Round Tower at about 2pm.
The News’ will be bringing you live coverage of the ship’s arrival – including a live blog on portsmouth.co.uk and live video on our Facebook page.
Naval top brass hailed the ship’s imminent arrival as a ‘profound’ and ‘sublime’ moment for Britain as she anchored off the Isle of Wight.
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.
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.
Thousands watched as HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Portsmouth for the first time in August, 2017.
The ship, which like HMS Prince of Wales weighs 65,000 tonnes, is currently on its Westlant 19 deployment off the east coast of the USA.
She has been carrying out trials with supersonic F-35 stealth jets, which are due to fly from her deck in British waters next year.