HMS Prince of Wales has made her first overseas port visit with a short stop in Gibraltar.
The overseas territory will host the Royal Navy aircraft carrier for a logistics stop over the next few days.
The 65,000-tonne warship has spent the last few months on sea trials off the south coast of England after receiving a series of upgrades and enhancements throughout 2020.
The ship recently rendezvoused with HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea for the first time and embarked her first F-35 Lightning jets.
It puts both of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers at sea at the same time, making a significant contribution to NATO and promoting Global Britain.
The visit comes as the Royal Navy’s forward basing programme continues, with HMS Trent operating from Gibraltar where she will support operations in the Mediterranean, work with our African partners including maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, and the French Navy as part of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
Captain Darren Houston, the Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, said: “This is another moment in history for the ship and my sailors, as we partake in our first overseas port visit after an extremely busy period at sea. We have successfully completed our operational sea training, which is a critical milestone on the path of declaring the initial operating capability for UK Carrier Strike capability.
“The UK Carrier Strike Group will form a vital component of the UK contribution to the NATO Readiness Initiative. HMS Prince of Wales will directly contribute to the safety and security of the UK and our allies through NATO.”
The visit to Gibraltar is particularly poignant for Capt Houston, who will hand over the command of the ship to a new Commanding Officer, Captain Stephen Higham.
The ship’s recent busy period has included multiple milestones for the Portsmouth-based warship as she generates towards being a fully operational aircraft carrier.
This has included the embarkation of multiple aircraft squadrons including Apache attack helicopters of the Army Air Corps’ 656 Squadron and now the Wildcat maritime attack helicopters of 825 Naval Air Squadron.
This is another moment in history for the ship and my sailors, as we partake in our first overseas port visit after an extremely busy period at sea.
Captain Darren Houston, Commanding Officer HMS Prince of Wales
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