Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has taken its place at the center of one of the most powerful naval task forces in the world at the start of the largest Arctic exercise for 30 years.
HMS Prince of Wales, which is currently serving as NATO’s command ship, has sailed north to the Arctic for Exercise Cold Response 2022, a month-long test of allied forces that will see 30,000 troops from 27 nations operate together.
The regular exercise, which takes place every other year and planning for which began in December 2020, will involve more than twice as many personnel as the 14,000 planned for in Exercise Cold Response 2020.
HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. Unlike most large aircraft carriers, Prince of Wales is not fitted with catapults and arrestor wires and is instead designed to operate V/STOL aircraft.
The ship is currently planned to carry up to 40 F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and Merlin helicopters for airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare, although in surge conditions the class is capable of supporting 70+ F-35B.
The HMS Prince of Wales has a crew of 1,600 people with accommodation for 250 Royal Marines and the ability to support them with attack helicopters and troop transports up to and larger than Chinook size.