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HMS Prince of Wales Is Down: The Royal Navy’s Largest Aircraft Carrier Broke Down

F-35B HMS Prince of Wales
Image: Creative Commons.

The HMS Prince of Wales is the pride of the Royal Navy and a key vessel to deter Russia as it attacks and invades Ukraine. So why did the vessel break down recently on the high seas? 

The UK’s newest and biggest aircraft carrier broke down on the second day of what was meant to be a months-long deployment to the US.

HMS Prince of Wales, a £3 billion ($3.5 billion), suffered a mechanical issue Sunday and remains near its base of Portsmouth on the UK’s southern coast.

The carrier, which has held the role of command ship for NATO since January 2022, was on the second day of its latest deployment.

The mission is due to take the Prince of Wales, one of two Elizabeth-class carriers meant to revitalize the Royal Navy, to ports in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Divers were on Sunday investigating the ship’s technical fault, which is likely to be a damaged propeller, according to the independent news and analysis site Navy Lookout.

“The ship is receiving external support for ongoing investigations,” a Royal Navy spokesperson said Sunday.

“Having successfully sailed from Portsmouth, HMS Prince of Wales remains in the South Coast Exercise Area,” the spokesperson added. “We expect her to continue her Westlant 22 deployment as planned in the coming days.”

This isn’t the first time that the 65,000-ton vessel has suffered technical issues since it entered service in 2019.

At the end of 2020, it was stranded in Portsmouth after a flooded engine room led to electrical damage.

The carrier, which has a crew of 1,600, spent fewer than 90 days at sea during its first two years of service after suffering multiple leaks, according to The Guardian.

The Royal Navy did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.

George Glover covers markets and investing from Business Insider’s (where this first appeared) London office. 

Written By

George Glover George Glover covers markets and investing from Business Insider's London office.