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Giant warship passes island on pioneering mission

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A British aircraft carrier heads past the South Shore (Photograph by Sue Correia)

A giant British warship that cruised past the island this week is believed to be the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Waleson its deployment to “revolutionise” how the Royal Navy operates carrier strike groups.

Bermuda Maritime Operations could not confirm it was the 932ft vessel, which identified itself only as a British warship when it was contacted after appearing on the island’s radar.

However, the Royal Navy announced on September 1 that the Prince of Wales, Britain’s biggest warship, was being sent to the US East Coast on its longest deployment as part of a transformation of naval tactics.

The carrier, launched in 2017, is the sister ship of the HMS Queen Elizabeth — the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy.

By its expected return, “shortly before Christmas”, the ship will have assessed the ability to bring supplies on to vessels using drones instead of helicopters.

The HMS Prince of Wales, a British Navy aircraft carrier passes to the south of Bermuda. (Photograph by Joseph E Mahoney)

It will also test the F35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet, looking to “launch and land the Lightning jets in the heaviest sea states, proving that they can operate the jets in the harshest environments”.

The navy announcement added: “The carrier’s stint Stateside will conclude by expanding the US Marine Corps’ unique tilt-rotor MV-22 Ospreys operating limits.”

The deployment was billed as “pushing the limits of aircraft carrier operations”.

Bermuda Maritime Operations said the ship passed five miles off the South Shore, heading west.

The mission is part of the build-up for Britain’s next major carrier strike group deployment in 2025.

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Published September 19, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated September 19, 2023 at 8:17 am)

Giant warship passes island on pioneering mission

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