Supercarrier to leave dock and make its way up the Forth
The gigantic supercarrier HMS Prince Of Wales will make its way up the Forth next week, after years of work at Babcock Rosyth.
The vessel, which is the second of the pair being assembled at Rosyth, is scheduled to exit the dock between Tuesday and Friday, weather permitting.
The launch will be a milestone for the HMS Prince of Wales, after construction first started in 2011.
A number of large blocks were made at dockyards around the UK, before being taken to Fife for assembly.
Though no specific time has been confirmed yet by the Ministry of Defence, once the carrier has left dock it will then begin sea trials before being declared fit for duty in around four years time.
It is the seventh Royal Navy ship to have the name HMS Prince of Wales.
It will have a crew of over 600, and will be capable of accommodating 250 Royal Marines, along with the ability to support them with attack helicopters and troop transports up to and larger than Chinook size.
It has been estimated that the two carriers will have cost a total of £6.2 billion to build.
The Wales’ sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, sailed out of Rosyth in June 2017.
A mast on the gigantic ship had to be lowered in order to fit underneath the three Forth bridges, clearing it by less than two metres. It then spent a few days in the Forth just off Kirkcaldy, with extensive activity by helicopters over the water.
It returned to Rosyth earlier this year for some planned maintenance, prompting another tight squeeze under the bridges.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently undergoing trials with a new fleet of aircraft – British F-35B Lightning jets – off the east coast of the USA.
The ship is expected to be put into full operational deployment in 2021.
The departure of the HMS Prince of Wales from the dock brings an end to years of guaranteed work at Rosyth.
The Babcock-run facility faces a loss of 450 jobs unless a MoD contract is awarded for a new frigate.
The MoD is set to name the preferred supplier later this year for the Type 31e frigate (T31e), with Babcock among the three contenders, along with BAE Systems and Atlas Elektronik.