After nine months of undergoing repairs, following a serious defect with her starboard propeller shaft, HMS Prince of Wales was floated out of dry dock in Rosyth and onto the river Forth.
Babcock has been largely responsible for the shaft repairs under a 10-year support agreement signed in 2022. The specific cost of the repair was reportedly £25 Million and paid for from the RN’s budget as warranty cover for this type of work was not deemed good value for money at the time when the carriers were originally built.
In parallel BAE Systems have carried out previously-planned capability insertion work that would otherwise have been done in Portsmouth. While in Rosyth, the Ship’s Company maintained their training levels either onboard the carrier or by making use of training simulators ashore such as at HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood. They have also supported recruitment and STEM events in the area, hosted NATO delegates and VIPs, taken part in civic events including Remembrance Parades in Edinburgh and Liverpool, Freedom of the City in Bristol, and assisted Border Force personnel during strikes over Christmas and Easter.
Once at anchor, the ship’s company will test machinery and systems before sailing under the Forth Bridges on her way to Portsmouth. She will deploy to the US in the Autumn and will conduct flying trials with aircraft including F-35s, V-22 Ospreys, Merlin helicopters and General Atomics Mojave MQ1C Remotely-piloted UAS.
Towards the end of 2024, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be readied for her first major refit. HMS Prince of Wales will take over as the RN’s flagship ready to lead a global deployment to the Indo-Pacific in 2025.
We look forward to apologies from the many journalist and keyboard warriors who claimed HMS Princes of Wales was “being scrapped and stripped for parts.”