Twelve Royal Navy personnel have become the first crew to join the UK's second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.
As the first ship’s company, the team will work alongside their industry partners over the coming years to learn about the ship, the equipment and the vast technological advances as she progresses through her build programme, ahead of sea trials, expected in 2019.
Captain Simon Petitt, the Senior Naval Officer of both Queen Elizabeth Class carriers said:
It is an honour to be in charge of a small but rapidly growing team. This is day 1 for the men and women who will serve in HMS Prince of Wales and I wish them every success in their journey.
Over 3 years ago, I had the privilege to welcome the first members of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Then only 10 in number, the ship’s company is now 370 strong. With every day, their team spirit, ethos and knowledge of the ship becomes stronger and I expect the same sense of pride from the HMS Prince of Wales team.
HMS Prince of Wales stands proudly in Rosyth along with her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth. Together, these will be powerful ambassadors for Britain for the next 50 years, projecting fighting power at sea and over land, protecting UK interests around the globe.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:
I am delighted to see HMS Prince of Wales coming to life and welcoming her first crew on board. Both she and her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth are well on schedule to enter full service as the largest and most advanced aircraft carriers ever built for the Royal Navy.
From today, HMS Prince of Wales will be home to a growing complement of personnel, offering a clear demonstration of how our £178 billion investment in equipment is securing a bright future for our armed forces.
Both ships are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence. A national endeavour, at its peak the programme directly employed 10,000 people across six build yards.
Director of Ship Acquisition, Rear Admiral Henry Parker said:
The arrival of HMS Prince of Wales staff today marks a major milestone in turning the aircraft carrier into a world-class operational warship. I wish the new staff all the best at what is an exciting and challenging time in the Queen Elizabeth class programme.
Angus Holt, HMS Prince of Wales Delivery Director, said:
It’s a very proud day for everyone in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, as the men and women joining us today will form the first Royal Navy crew of this great ship.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to the first 12 crew members of HMS Prince of Wales. The significance of the first Royal Navy personnel joining the nation’s future flagship cannot be underestimated and marks an important part of our delivery programme.