Home Europe HMS Prince of Wales gets underway for deployment to US east coast

HMS Prince of Wales gets underway for deployment to US east coast

HMS Prince of Wales Westlant 2022
HMS Prince of Wales departing Portsmouth for Westlant 2022 deployment to the United States. Photo: Royal Navy

The second of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales, sailed from Portsmouth on Saturday to begin a landmark deployment to the United States.

HMS Prince of Wales will cross the Atlantic with her task group, before beginning aviation trials of the US east coast.

The 65,000-ton warship deploys initially alongside frigate HMS Richmond, tanker RFA Tideforce and an air group of helicopters and drones, before F-35B stealth fighters join the deployment once the ship arrives in North America for the Westlant 22 deployment.

Along with notable port stops in New York, Halifax in Canada, and the Caribbean, the next three months will see the Prince of Wales task group work closely with US allies, operating F-35B jets and uncrewed systems which will define Royal Navy aviation of the future.

The deployment will build on the close collaboration between the US Navy, Marine Corps and Royal Navy, from previous Westlant deployments to American participation throughout last year’s maiden deployment of the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group.

With fleet flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth also set to deploy to the Mediterranean and Baltic this autumn at the heart of a potent Royal Navy task group, it will mean both UK aircraft carriers will be operating F-35B jets thousands of miles apart.

Photo: Royal Navy

“Taking the HMS Prince of Wales task group across the Atlantic for the rest of this year will not only push the boundaries of UK carrier operations, but will reinforce our close working relationship with our closest ally,” commanding officer Captain Richard Hewitt said.

“From operating the F35 Lightnings and drones to hosting the Atlantic Future Forum, none of this would be possible without the efforts of the amazing sailors on board, many of which are on their first deployment with the Royal Navy.”

Frigate HMS Richmond left Plymouth today and will remain with the carrier for the bulk of the autumn as they conduct collective training.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Royal Navy to strengthen our special relationship with the USA and demonstrate our ability to operate with a close ally,” said Commander Christopher L’Amie, Richmond’s commanding officer.

HMS Prince of Wales will remain at high-readiness throughout her mission to America in her role as NATO’s command ship, which sees her head up the naval element of the alliance’s response force that is capable of being deployed quickly anywhere in the world to react to crises.

While in New York, HMS Prince of Wales will also host the Atlantic Future Forum – a conference that brings together the brightest minds and most influential thinkers from defense and beyond to strengthen UK and US bonds.

They will discuss the ever-changing picture of international security and the technologies which will define the next decade and beyond.