Hundreds of people, including industry employees, Royal Navy personnel and their families, gathered along the Portsmouth shoreline to welcome the ship to her new home, following the successful completion of her first stage sea trials nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
The ship’s arrival into Portsmouth represents the culmination of 16 years of work by the ACA – a unique alliancing relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence. More than 10,000 people across the UK have been involved in the programme to deliver the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with six British shipbuilding yards across the country playing a vital role in the ships’ design and construction.
Sir Simon Lister, Managing Director, Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: “Today is an important day for our employees and the Royal Navy. Delivering next generation naval capability of this complexity is not only a proud moment for our employees but also showcases the industrial capability within the UK. This programme has brought together the best of British imagination, ingenuity and invention and I am extremely proud of our teams who have shown relentless drive, energy and a continued focus on ensuring we deliver the very best for the Royal Navy.”
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the role that BAE Systems has played in this national endeavour. The arrival of HMS Prince of Wales into Portsmouth is an important moment for everyone at BAE Systems, our industrial partners and the thousands of people in the supply chain across the country who have worked so hard to deliver the two Queen Elizabeth Class carriers which will protect our national interests for decades to come.”
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK, said: “All Thales employees involved in this iconic British engineering programme should feel a sense of pride today. It’s been a fantastic challenge to be part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance from the beginning and an excellent example of industry working with the Ministry of Defence to deliver these world-leading ships. We congratulate HMS Prince of Wales on this landmark occasion.”
Designed to test the carrier’s capability, HMS Prince of Wales and her ship’s company have accomplished a number of trials and ‘firsts’ over the past nine weeks at sea, including the landing of a Merlin Mk2 and a test of her engines at full power. The sea trials programme tested all 158 essential systems on the ship which includes power and propulsion, radars, communications and essential hotel and platform services.
|HMS Prince of Wales: Fast facts (source, BAE Systems)|
|Jobs supported across the UK supply chain||10,000|
|Number of facilities involved in the manufacture of the vessel||Six: Babcock, Rosyth; Cammell Laird, Birkenhead; A&P Tyne; Babcock, Appledore; BAE Systems, Glasgow; BAE Systems Portsmouth|
|Total cost of the project to date||£6.2 billion|
|Percentage of suppliers based in the UK||90%|
|Businesses involved in the supply chain||700|
The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest, most capable and powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK, each providing our armed forces with a four acre military operating base. Once fully operational, the ships will provide the forward deployed base for the UK’s F-35B aircraft, delivering an uncompromising carrier strike capability to the UK’s armed forces anywhere in the world.