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HMS Prince of Wales faces ‘long period’ in dry dock after hours cut short to ‘landmark mission’

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The UK’s largest warship reportedly could spend a long period in dry dock after it broke down off the south coast of England yesterday due to ‘damage to the propeller shaft’ as it had just left for an important mission to the United States.

The five-year-old HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers, suffered an ’emerging mechanical problem’ near the Isle of Wight yesterday, according to a Royal Navy spokesman, and has been moved to a better location for inspection.

This came after the £3bn airline had to postpone its departure by a day on Friday due to a technical problem, but it is not known whether the two incidents are related.

The 65,000-ton warship was reportedly anchored southeast of the Isle of Wight when an investigation into the problem was conducted.

Now its position on MarineTraffic.com appears to have moved a few miles north and then west, according to Sky Newstowards Stokes Bay, Gosport.

Obviously the carrier will be taken somewhere more easily inspected, with the sheltered area at Stokes Bay providing an easier place for divers to investigate any damage.

The Telegraph reported that the return of HMS Prince of Wales to port has not yet been ruled out, leaving the possibility of a lengthy drydock inspection also open. Any lengthy investigation could affect deployment, meaning the ship could face a canceled trip to the US.

The £3bn airline had already had to postpone its departure by a day on Friday due to a technical problem

The NATO flagship will conduct training exercises with both the US Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Marine Corps.  The program is expected to include exercises with the F-35B Lightning jets

The NATO flagship will conduct training exercises with both the US Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Marine Corps. The program is expected to include exercises with the F-35B Lightning jets

The Royal Navy posted on Twitter earlier today: ‘You may be aware of problems with @HMSPWLS since leaving its home port of Portsmouth on Saturday. We are in the process of moving her to another anchorage better suited to allow further inspection of the ship.’

Another tweet from the account read: “Right now our focus is on the ship and our people; everyone is working hard to understand the problem and what can be done about it.”

Yesterday a spokesman for the Royal Navy told: Sky News the HMS Prince of Wales remained anchored in the South Coast Exercise Area amid ongoing ‘investigations into an emerging mechanical problem’.

The UK Defense Journalthe online news site that first reported on the problem claimed the problem was specifically related to damage to the starboard propeller shaft.

The five-year-old HMS Prince of Wales is the second of two Royal Navy aircraft carriers

The five-year-old HMS Prince of Wales is the second of two Royal Navy aircraft carriers

The Royal Navy posted updates about the HMS Prince of Wales on Twitter

The Royal Navy posted updates about the HMS Prince of Wales on Twitter

The message: ‘A source told me divers were sent down to determine what was going on after problems on board were noted, and when they returned the divers had concerns about the starboard propeller shaft

“I have been told that the shaft itself appears to be damaged, but I do not believe it is appropriate to comment on the extent of any damage at this stage as the details of any damage cannot be confirmed.”

Another specialized news site, naval lookoutreported that the carrier had suffered a ‘significant technical malfunction’.

It again cited unconfirmed claims that there was “damage to the starboard propeller shaft” and also added that “divers have inspected the vessel below the waterline”.

If the journey does go ahead, it has been described by the Royal Navy as “a landmark mission to shape the future of stealth jet and drone operations off the coast of North America and in the Caribbean.”

The warship was given a colorful farewell as it passed thousands of music lovers on Saturday at the Victorious music festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth (Hoop Shaker dancer Sally Turner is pictured)

The warship was given a colorful farewell as it passed thousands of music lovers on Saturday at the Victorious music festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth (Hoop Shaker dancer Sally Turner is pictured)

Family and friends wave to sailors aboard HMS Prince of Wales as this Saturday set sail

Family and friends wave to sailors aboard HMS Prince of Wales as this Saturday set sail

The carrier's departure came a day late, though a Royal Navy spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the delay

The carrier’s departure came a day late, though a Royal Navy spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the delay

The NATO flagship will conduct training exercises with both the US Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Marine Corps. The program is expected to include exercises with the F-35B Lightning jets.

The warship received a colorful farewell as it sailed past thousands of music lovers on Saturday at the Victorious music festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth.

The departure came a day late, although a Royal Navy spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the delay. They said the departure of the ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ has been delayed. This will not affect her further program.’

An image shows how the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers - which includes two ships;  the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales - can produce 500 tons of freshwater daily from seawater

An image shows how the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers – which includes two ships; the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – can produce 500 tons of freshwater daily from seawater

Pictured: The Queen Elizabeth class with HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales

Pictured: The Queen Elizabeth class with HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales

But yesterday, the courier was reportedly at anchor. The British Defense Journal was told by the Ministry of Defence: ‘The HMS PRINCE OF WALES has departed Portsmouth and remains in the exercise area on the south coast.’

Any lengthy investigation is likely to have implications for the Atlantic Future Forum, an annual gathering of top Western officials to take place on board in September, which would be a blow to the government.

But Navy Lookout reported yesterday that the official line is that the mission has yet to take place, with a Royal Navy spokesman telling the site: “We expect she will continue her WESTLANT 22 deployment in the coming days as planned.”

Ahead of the mechanical issue and to mark the warship’s departure, Commander Captain Richard Hewitt said in a statement: “As the HMS Prince of Wales Task Force crosses the Atlantic for the remainder of this year, it will not only push the boundaries of British aviation operations. , but will strengthen our close working relationship with our closest ally.

“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 whom are first deployed to the Royal Navy.”

MailOnline contacted the Department of Defense for comment.

HMS Prince of Wales: The Figures Behind the Navy’s Latest Aircraft Carrier

Cost: £3.3 billion. Originally £3bn, various breakdowns and repairs drove up costs.

Weight: 65,000

Crew: 1600 when fully functional.

Dimensions: Over 900 feet long and 230 feet wide, with four-acre decks the size of three football fields.

Speed: Top speed of 28 mph. Able to travel 500 miles a day.

Fighter Jets: Capacity for 36 F35-B Lightning II fighter jets. The jets can be lifted from the hangar below to the deck in just 60 seconds.

Weapons: Weapon system capable of firing 3,000 rounds per minute.

radars: Long-range radars can track up to 1,000 air targets at a range of up to 250 nautical miles.

Type 997 Artisan 3D medium range radars can track a ball-sized target from a distance of 12 miles.

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