The failure of the Prince of Wales was called a disgrace to the Royal Navy
HMS Prince of Wales, the largest aircraft carrier in the UK, could miss a “significant mission” with fighters and drones, while the Royal Navy navy is trying to fix a propeller malfunction.
F-35B Lightning fighter jets and Banshee drones were expected will operate off the deck of the USS Prince of Wales during an upcoming training mission, but these plans could be seriously disrupted or delayed.
According to Sky News, Britain's largest warship could miss important tests involving the latest fighters and drones due to a propeller shaft failure that was discovered just a few miles after the aircraft carrier went to sea.
The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales cost The £3bn left Portsmouth on Saturday, but “a mechanical failure of the starboard shaft was soon discovered,” Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse said.
Prince of Wales' journey to the US had barely begun when the ship was forced to crawl back to Hampshire, escorted by tugboats from a position off the Isle of Wight.
Rear Admiral Moorhouse stated “Today I was on the ship to see for myself what the problem is and how we are solving it … After the initial assessment, it is likely that the malfunction will require repair, which may affect the ship's program. The vessel is currently moving to a more secure anchorage for further inspection, at which time we will be able to provide additional comments on the nature of the problem and the impact on her current schedule.”
Divers will be able to use the sheltered bay, believed to be in Gosport, to assess the problem, which specialist news website Navy Lookout called a “significant technical error.”
Rear Admiral Moorhouse said in a video message on social media that “the malfunction is likely to require repairs that could affect the ship's program.”
According to the British naval commander, more information about the problem and the violation of the aircraft carrier's schedule will be provided after additional verification.
“We have responded quickly to the defect and are working closely with industry partners to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” said Rear Admiral Moorhouse, who is responsible for ensuring the Royal Navy ships are ready for deployment.
Navy Lookout, a specialist website, reported that the photo of the aircraft carrier leaving Portsmouth only showed wakes from the port side, indicating a problem with the other propeller shaft. It is anticipated that if the problem is not resolved at sea, the warship may have to drydock at Rosyth, Scotland, several months ahead of a scheduled inspection in 2023.
The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales acts as a NATO command ship and sails to North America for exercises with the US and Canadian navies and the United States Marine Corps.
The “landmark” mission was intended to determine the future of operations with using stealth aircraft and drones off the coast of North America and the Caribbean.
Fifth-generation F-35B Lightnings and Banshee drones were expected to operate off the deck of the aircraft carrier, and its route included New York, Halifax in Canada, and the Caribbean. The Royal Navy called the cruise a “landmark mission.”
The failure of an aircraft carrier immediately after sailing is a shame for the Royal Navy, especially since the 280-meter ship was commissioned only last year, notes Sky News.
The ship's departure had previously been delayed from Friday due to a technical problem, and shortly after the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier sailed on Saturday, a starboard shaft mechanical failure was discovered.
It is not known if there were whether these incidents are related, the British press notes.
The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales can carry 36 F-35B Lightning aircraft and four Merlin helicopters with a crew of about 700 people, which increases to 1600 when all aircraft are on board. The planes were supposed to join the ship in the US.