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HMS Prince of Wales completes repairs and capability upgrades at Rosyth

The Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales departs the harbour area of Rosyth dockyard on 22 July 2023 following nine months of repairs. (Crown Copyright)

The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has completed repairs and capability upgrades at Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland ahead of its return to service later in 2023, the UK Royal Navy (RN) has announced.

The repairs were necessitated following damage suffered to Prince of Wales' starboard shaft coupling while sailing from Portsmouth in August 2022, and a subsequently identified defect in the carrier's port shaft. The repairs, led by prime contractor Babcock, are estimated to have cost GBP25 million (USD32 million) and were conducted alongside planned upgrades undertaken by BAE Systems.

A 3 April letter to the chair of the UK House of Commons Defence Committee and former Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk MP, reported that the planned capability enhancements included upgrades to the carrier's flight deck to allow expanded Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II operations, updates to communications and information systems, and upgrades to the carrier's combat management system (CMS) architecture.

The letter also provided details on the non-statutory inquiry (NSI) into Prince of Wales' propulsion system failure. The cause of the defect was noted as a misalignment in the starboard shaft from build, with “the incorrect installation of key components” resulting in the issue. While the misalignment had been previously identified, vibration readings during Prince of Wales' sea trials in 2019 were noted as within normal levels and the ship was subsequently accepted into RN service. Issues were also not identified during Prince of Wales'

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