Royal Navy's new £3.1bn aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales undergoes upgrade and maintenance work

UPGRADES and maintenance work are being carried out on the Royal Navy’s new £3.1bn aircraft carrier.

By Tom Cotterill
Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 2:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 4:39 pm

HMS Prince of Wales was manoeuvred at Portsmouth Naval Base this morning as the next phase of improvements begin.

Large white tents have appeared on the 65,000-tonne warship’s enormous four-acre flight deck where maintenance is taking place.

A spokesman for the navy added the carrier was also undergoing a ‘capability insertion period’, although did not elaborate on what this was.

HMS Prince of Wales pictured with the white tents on her flight deck. Photo: Richard Jenkins

However, similar periods on Prince of Wales’s sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, have seen the hi-tech warship bolstered with a formidable armament of anti-aircraft guns.

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Three Phalanx computer-controlled guns, which can empty a 1,550-round magazine at 4,500 rounds-per-minute against a range of threats on land and at sea, were fitted on the supercarrier.

HMS Prince of Wales returns to Portsmouth on 25 March 2020. Pictured: View from the Round Tower of HMS Prince of Wales. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The navy launched an investigation into the incident, which saw water pouring through the ceiling into an accommodation area of the warship.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘Following a minor issue with an internal system on HMS Prince of Wales, the ship's company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship.

‘An investigation into the cause is now under way but this will not affect the ship's programme.’

It is understood that the pipe was isolated quickly and the water was mopped up by the crew.

Earlier this month, HMS Prince of Wales tested its safety systems including the deployment of life rafts and emergency chutes while HMS Queen Elizabeth set sail from Stokes Bay, last week to carry out sea trials off the south coast.

The ship is carrying out her next phase of training, while her crew is being assessed by the navy’s team of examiners, who look at how sailors react to various situations they could experience at sea or on operations.

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