Sept. 11 (UPI) – The second of Britain’s new aircraft carriers, the 7,650-ton HMS Prince of Wales, was christened Friday in a ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland.

The Queen Elizabeth-class ship will carry F-35B aircraft and serve as a flag ship.

The carrier is being built by Britain’s Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a consortium of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the Britain’s Ministry of Defense. Its flight deck is about 918.6 feet long and about 226 feet wide. It has 17 decks, 3,013 compartments and will be manned by 679 personnel.

The British Ministry of Defense said HMS Prince of Wales is expected to begin sea trials in 2019.

“With two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers in Royal Navy service, one will be available for operations at all times,” said Adm. Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff. “When paired with the F35B Joint Strike Fighter, they will provide our nation with a continuous carrier strike capability — a powerful conventional deterrent in a dangerous and uncertain world.”

The christening ceremony involved the ship’s sponsor, the Duchess of Rothesay, smashing a bottle of 10-year-old whisky from the Laphroaig distillery in the Isle of Islay, against the ship.

The first-of-class HMS Queen Elizabeth took up station at her home port of Portsmouth about three weeks ago as part of her maiden sea trials program.



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