Flagship £3bn HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier needs more repairs

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The £3bn HMS Prince of Wales has been in a dry dock since October 12 after it broke down in August. Repairs on the starboard propeller shaft were due to be completed over the next few weeks.re

But the Daily Express can reveal the port-side shaft will also need to be repaired as a “similar” fault has been identified. And Navy chiefs are now considering delaying the aircraft carrier’s departure from Rosyth.

Inspections found the 33-ton starboard propeller had malfunctioned, with a coupling holding it in place breaking.

A source said: “Options for the additional work are well underway but are dependent on part availability. Obviously, we want our carrier back as soon as possible.”

Former Armed Forces minister Mark Francois told the Daily Express: “This is a £3billion warship so, to paraphrase Lady Bracknell, while to damage one propeller shaft is unfortunate, to damage two seems like carelessness.

“With a war underway in Ukraine, we urgently need to sort out the sadly recurrent engineering problems with HMS Prince of Wales, once and for all.”

The craft has been beset by issues. Less than a year after it began service in 2019, an accommodation block roof collapsed.

Months later, a major leak in the ship’s engine room, saw a metre of water submerging electrical cabinets. Engineers had to assess miles of cables. From October 2020 to April 2021, the ship spent 193 days having £3.3 million of damage repaired.

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