Building the Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier: The UK Shapes a Second Large Deck Carrier for the UK Defense Forces


2015-03-06  The Royal Navy is building two large deck aircraft carriers.

This ship and the USS America are two ships built specifically with the F-35B in mind.

The Queen Elizabeth will have its sea trials next year, and construction is moving apace on the Prince of Wales.

According to a December 1, 2014, UK MoD story updating the carrier program:

While visiting the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, in Rosyth, Mr. Fallon (the UK Defence Secretary) met with the project team to discuss the build progress of the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was formally named by Her Majesty the Queen in July this year, is currently being fitted out in Rosyth dockyard before arriving in Portsmouth.

Assembly of HMS Prince of Wales is also well underway. Speaking from the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Mr Fallon said:

I came here to see for myself that the project is on track and on time to give Britain carrier strike capability, with HMS Queen Elizabeth operating with new F-35 planes by 2020.

These carriers will spearhead Britain’s sea power for the next 50 years, keeping the nation safe at home and protecting our interests abroad.

Recently, the first of its two engines was installed on the Prince of Wales at its dry dock.

Prince of Wales Gas Turbine Engine. Credit: Aircraft Carrier Alliance
Prince of Wales Gas Turbine Engine. Credit: Aircraft Carrier Alliance

According to a Royal Navy story published on March 5, 2015:

The first of two huge gas turbines which will be the ship’s main powerplant has been lowered into place on HMS Prince of Wales. 

Wrapped in white plastic this is the first powerplant to be installed on the second of the nation’s new aircraft carriers. 

When running, this single engine – a Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine – could generate enough power to meet the needs of a town the size of Burnley or Swindon. 

Fitted in the bowels of HMS Prince of Wales, this 120-tonne engine will provide the 65,000-tonne leviathan – younger sister of HMS Queen Elizabeth – with around one third of the power she needs for her sailors, aircrew and operations around the globe. 

The huge Goliath crane lifted the turbine into place – as it has also been doing lifting sponsons for the flight deck, as the carrier increasingly takes shape.

And in this time lapse video of the ship construction published on December 2, 2014, the double docking and skidding are combined at the Rosyth Dockyard.