Royal Navy’s HMS Prince Of Wales To Replace HMS Queen Elizabeth In NATO Exercise

The scheduled departure of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier named HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was all prepared to lead the most excellent NATO exercise ever since the Cold War, was cancelled suddenly after an issue popped up with a propeller shaft during the final checks.

The HMS Prince of Wales will replace HMS Queen Elizabeth in NATO exercises involving more than 40 vessels. The setback typically follows quite a similar incident about 18 months ago when the sister vessel, HMS Prince of Wales, encountered a breakdown off the Isle of Wight owing to an unexpected malfunction with a coupling on the starboard propeller. On X, the Royal Navy posted that the routine examinations while pre-sailing identified a problem with a coupling on the starboard propeller shaft of HMS Queen Elizabeth. As such, the vessel will not be sailing on Sunday.

HMS Prince of Wales
Image Credits: HMS Prince of Wales/Twitter

The HMS Prince of Wales will take her place on NATO duties and will be setting sail for the Steadfast Defender exercise as soon as possible. Per the Independent, it is primed to lead a carrier strike involving eight vessels, with four boats from Britain, including the HMS Somerset frigate, and two Tide-class tankers from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

It will receive strong support from vessels belonging to the US, Denmark, and Spain. Besides joining the strikes are F-35B Lightning stealth fighters associated with the 617 “Dambusters” Squadron at the RAF Marham, alongside submarine hunting as well as airborne prior warning the Merlin Mk2 helicopters from the RNAS Culdrose. The Battlefield Wildcat helicopters associated with the 847 Naval Air Squadron from the RNAS Yeovilton are part of the line-up as well.

The cancellation happened amid warnings that Britain was quite ill-prepared to participate in an all-out war owing to stockpile shortage and a crisis related to armed forces recruitment. Per the House of Commons Defence Committee, the military is continually overstretched, exacerbated by the challenges around recruitment and retention, which have witnessed more individuals leaving than deciding to join the armed forces, per the Independent.

On the other hand, the cross-party group of MPs said that the country’s military has been thoroughly “hollowed out”, leaving the UK unprepared for war, especially in the middle of increasing worldwide instability.

Reference: WION

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