“Prince of Wales”
The newest British aircraft carrier “Prince of Wales” (HMS Prince of Wales) of the Royal Navy spent only 87 days at sea in two years of operation, thereby failing its mission in terms of stay in the waters and delaying the execution of the schedule of joint operations with the US Navy. This was stated by the MP Kevan Jones, citing a letter from the Minister of the Armed Forces, James Happy, writes the Daily Mail.
Happy, in his letter to Jones, confirmed that the Prince of Wales spent 57 days at sea in 2019 and only 30 in 2020. The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the lead ship of the same series, over the same period spent a total of 231 days at sea, that is, two and a half times more. At the end of 2020, the Prince of Wales got up for repairs due to a leak and will not be able to return to sea for at least six months.
“The fact that the Prince of Wales did not spend the proper time at sea is troubling,” Jones told The Telegraph. He stressed that the authorities must make every effort to return the aircraft carrier to service as soon as possible for joint operations with the United States.
The Royal Navy noted that the Prince of Wales is still at the very beginning of its 50-year service life, and the small amount of time at sea is explained by the fact that the fleet had planned in advance for 2020 mainly to upgrade equipment on the ship. Upgrades, tests and training of the aircraft carrier's crew are also planned for 2021, added to the Navy.
The Prince of Wales was commissioned in 2019. The construction of the ship cost 3.1 billion pounds (more than 310 billion rubles). During tests carried out in 2020, the aircraft carrier was flooded several times. As a result of the last incident, the wiring was severely damaged. Due to repairs, the ship still cannot arrive in the United States and pick up an air group from the fifth-generation F-35C carrier-based fighters.