HMS Prince of Wales naming ceremony takes place
HMS Prince of Wales, the Second of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers, is today being officially named at a ceremony in Rosyth Dockyard. The naming ceremony recognises the capability of British engineering and the structural completion of the 920ft-long warship, and so is a key milestone of the QEC Programme, established to oversee the design and build of two carriers for the Royal Navy – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
Announced by Sir Michael Fallon MP on-board HMS Queen Elizabeth while she was undertaking sea trials off the coast of Scotland, the naming ceremony for her sister ship was attended by HRH the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, Sir Michael himself, Harriet Baldwin MP, as well as Victor Chavez, Chief Executive and John Ward, QEC Programme Director, both from Thales in the UK. As a founding member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) alongside Babcock, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence, and playing a crucial role in the delivery of the QEC Programme, it was an exciting occasion for Thales.
Thales has contributed significantly to the structure of both carriers, including the communications systems. The systems, from wireless on-board to satellite connectivity, allow the staff on the ships to talk to each other, the aircraft, the rest of the Navy and associated task groups, as well as allies, civilian vessels and air traffic with complete security, anywhere in the world.
Power and propulsion is a crucial element of the QEC programme. Comprising Rolls Royce, GE Energy and L-3, Thales has led the sub-alliance to deliver a distribution network that will generate enough energy to support both ships – the equivalent of a large town. Collaboration has been a necessity in delivering other requirements too, including for the implementation of the long-range S1850M radar, which has been supplied by Thales in the Netherlands.
As part of the QEC project on a broader level, Thales has also been involved in the designing of some of the aircraft due to be transported by the carriers; the Merlin Mk2 helicopters, which are fitted with Thales’s Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopter (FLASH) Dipping Sonar. The FLASH Dipping Sonar allows the helicopters to locate and track submarines in deep and littoral waters, even in high reverberation and noisy conditions. Plus, the Merlin Mk2 helicopters are fitted with Thales’s Cerberus mission system and Searchwater radar as part of the Crowsnest solution, enabling the aircraft to provide the QEC carriers with vital intelligence, surveillance and tracking.
John Ward says: “I was very proud to be able to attend the naming ceremony for HMS Prince of Wales. The occasion marked many years of hard work, personal commitment and dedication across the whole of the QEC programme to get us to where we are today. As the largest surface warships ever built for the Royal Navy, these incredible aircraft carriers provide an excellent demonstration of the talent and commitment within Thales engineering and our on-going support to our Armed Forces. Congratulations to all of those involved.”
Now structurally complete, HMS Prince of Wales is currently in the outfitting phase and will be floated out of Rosyth Dockyard in the first quarter of 2018 to later be based in Portsmouth, alike to her sister ship; HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Find out more about Thales’s involvement in the QEC Programme here.