By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, was the senior uniformed U.S. Navy representative for the commissioning of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales (R09) in Portsmouth, UK, Dec. 10, 2019.
Displacing 65,000 tons and with a length of 280 meters (~920ft), Prince of Wales can accommodate around 700 ship’s company Sailors and up to 1,600 personnel with an embarked airwing.
“I extend my sincere congratulations to the Royal Navy on commissioning the HMS Prince of Wales,” said Franchetti. “This capital investment reaffirms their commitment to maritime security and stability and demonstrates a continued desire to pursue high-end warfare capability. It was truly amazing to be a part of this special day as we stand together on maritime defense.”
Prince of Wales is the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name, and the commissioning date of Dec. 10, 2019, marks 78 years to the day since her predecessor, King George V-class battleship HMS Prince of Wales (53) was lost in action during WWII in the South China Sea.
The new aircraft carrier can embark 36 F-35B jets and four Merlin helicopters. The ship and crew completed nine weeks of sea trials in the North Sea this past summer.
“The U.S. and UK share a common bond of service and sacrifice as our forces serve alongside each other around the world,” said Franchetti. “I am grateful for this special relationship and look forward to maintaining our close collaboration in maritime operations, personnel exchanges, and high-end exercises like Formidable Shield with the Royal Navy.”
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.