With the press of a button, Britain's second supercarrier hit a major milestone as HMS Prince of Wales fired up her engines for the first time. Currently being fitted out at Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland, the 65,000-tonne warship's four Wärtsilä diesel generators came online under the supervision of 40 Royal Navy and civilian engineers and pumped out 11 megawatts each, or enough to supply a town of 25,000 people.
One of the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier and has been under construction since 2011. However, all power used onboard has come either from the dock or portable generators, and until her own power systems come online on a regular basis, the ship is effectively just a floating hunk of steel.
According to the Navy, the Wärtsilä diesels provide forty percent of Prince of Wales' power, with the balance coming from her two Rolls-Royce MT30 main engines that are used for propulsion. When these start work, they'll deliver 40 MW each or enough to supply a town of 80,000 people. Together, the six engines will bring the carrier to life, supplying power to support the ship, the 1,500 crew, 250 Royal Marines, up to 40 F-35B Lightning II fighters, assorted helicopters, radar, and a host of new automated shipboard systems.
"With the first run of HMS Prince of Wales' diesel generators now complete, the ship is truly coming to life on its own systems," says Lieutenant James Sheridan-Browne, the carrier's power and propulsion engineering officer. "The running of diesel generators will now continue to provide a steady drumbeat to sailing the ship to Portsmouth in 2019."
Source: Royal Navy