Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales hits choppy waters in sea trials

BRITAIN’S biggest warship has had her first taste of rough seas as she continues to notch up the milestones on her sea trials.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 7:04 pm

Following a brief pit-stop in the Scottish port of Invergordon, HMS Prince of Wales – the second, and slightly heavier, of the UK’s new aircraft carriers – is being tested in heavier seas to see how the 65,000-tonne warship handles in challenging weather.

The 920ft-long supercarrier is currently battling waves up to 20ft high as she continues to be pushed to the limit as part of her initial sea trials.

The carrier sailed from Rosyth, where she was assembled, in late September to begin an autumn of tests in the North Sea.

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HMS Prince of Wales heading out to sea to tackle rough waters in the North Sea.

Aboard are experts from across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance – the partnership of Royal Navy, industry, and Defence Equipment and Support personnel formed to build the Queen Elizabeth class – working side-by-side with the ship’s company.

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So far, the aircraft carrier has ramped up her engines to full power, reaching her top speed of about 25 knots.

She has also put her long-range radar into action and had the first helicopter land on her enormous eight-acre flight deck.

Sailors get their eye in during small arms firing at sea.

Most recently, Prince of Wales has tested her small-calibre guns - the last line of defence against fast craft-like speedboats or jetskis.

Able Seaman Alex Derry was among the team getting used to Prince of Wales’s weapons.

AB Derry said: ‘Not only was I the first sailor on HMS Prince of Wales to go under the Forth Bridge during our departure from Rosyth, but I also had the great honour to be the first gunnery rating to take part in a live machine-gun firing.

The view of HMS Prince of Wales from a helicopter coming in to land.

‘Being able to take part in both historic events fills me with a great sense of achievement and makes me proud to be part of such a momentous time in the ship’s life.’

Chefs on the ship have also been hard at work feeding the crew, pumping out 4,800 meals every day – included 72kg of meat and fruit, 200 litres of milk, 400 baguettes, 40 watermelons and 100 litres of soup.

Prince of Wales is expected to arrive in Portsmouth later this year.