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Royal Navy submarine docks in Gibraltar ahead of maiden call by HMS Prince of Wales

Photo by Jonny Bugeja

A Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine docked in Gibraltar on Monday evening ahead of the arrival on Tuesday of the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.

The Astute-class submarine, believed to be HMS Artful, is likely acting as an escort for the carrier, although the Ministry of Defence never comments on submarine deployments.

The carrier will arrive in Gibraltar on her maiden visit on Tuesday morning for a programmed logistics stop during sea trials.

This inaugural visit to Gibraltar will also be her first non-UK port visit.

The Queen Elizabeth-class carrier has a minimum crew complement of around 700 personnel, with the full complement increasing to around 1600 when aircraft are onboard.

Weighing 65,000 tonnes she has a top speed of 25 knots and two 33-tonne propellers, designed to deliver around 50,000 horsepower each.

With a flight deck measuring 70 metres wide by 280 metres she can embark 36 F-35B and four Merlin Helicopters.

She is the seventh ship to carry the name, with the first being launched in 1765.

Commanded by Captain Darren Houston, HMS Prince of Wales has recently completed sea trials off the south coast of England.

During this visit to Gibraltar, Captain Houston will hand over command of the ship to a new Commanding Officer, Captain Stephen Higham.

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