HMS Prince of Wales arrives back in Portsmouth after Nato exercises

Aircraft carrier arriving back in Portsmouth
The aircraft carrier arrived back in Portsmouth Harbour

HMS Prince of Wales has returned to the UK after leading in the largest Nato exercise in 40 years.

The aircraft carrier arrived back in Portsmouth Harbour, having travelled across Scandinavia and northern Europe.

It had been at the centre of Exercise Steadfast Defender, which involved more than 20,000 UK military personnel.

The warship left Portsmouth in February, after replacing sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth for the exercise.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: "HMS Prince of Wales is returning to her home port of Portsmouth after successfully leading the UK's involvement in Exercise Steadfast Defender, the largest Nato military exercise since the end of the Cold War."

Carrier under northern lights
The warship led Nato training exercises in the North Sea

The aircraft carrier set sail on February 12 to lead a UK Carrier Strike Group, which operated as a naval force of allied warships and submarines in the North Atlantic, Norwegian Sea and the Baltic Sea.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the fleet flagship, had been expected to lead the exercise but its deployment was called off after final checks found an issue with the starboard propeller coupling, the Navy said.

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