Babcock Delivers Type 23 Frigate On-Time, In-Budget

Fri, 14 December 2012

Type 23 frigate HMS Portland left Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard today, Thursday 13 December, to return to her base port of Plymouth at peak effectiveness following significant upgrades and improvements, after successful completion of a substantial upgrade and maintenance programme.  The project has benefited from close partnering between Babcock, the MoD, ship’s staff and the COM team under the Surface Ship Support Alliance to deliver the programme with maximum efficiency at minimised cost, representing optimum value for money.

HMS Portland received 19 major system and capability upgrades during the demanding and tightly scheduled 50 week refit.  These have included the installation of Sonar 2087 (the tactical variable depth active and passive anti-submarine warfare system) which involved significant structural modifications to the aft end of the ship; the new DNA(2) Command System (key to the ship’s fighting capability against air, surface and underwater threats); the new Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)), enabling information sharing and collaborative working across the defence sector network; SeaWolf mid-life update (SWMLU) comprising tracking, guidance and weapon management upgrades to counter evolving anti-ship missile threats; the 4.5 Mk8 Mod1 gun replacement; and new 30mm automatic small calibre gun fit.

Further upgrades include NATO radial filters to protect fresh air supplies from contamination, and the Nuclear Biological Chemical Defence Incident Surveillance System; an upgrade to the High Pressure Air system (providing flexibility of supply); the fit of an electro-catalytic chlorination system to control fouling and corrosion in sea water cooling circuits (which in turn will help to extend the life of affected equipment, optimise engine efficiency and aid efficient fuel consumption, and optimise air conditioning capacity); and a galley equipment upgrade and habitability improvements.

These upgrades are in addition to a full programme of deep maintenance including structural repairs, renewal of hull coatings and the refurbishment and maintenance of all the ship’s systems and equipment.

Babcock Project Manager Russell Glancy said: “The Rosyth team have successfully met the challenges of this project, and applied our experience from previous Type 23 refits, along with a strong partnering ethos, to ensure safe and effective delivery of this upgrade and maintenance programme, to schedule (with all major dates achieved to date or early), within budget, and meeting the high quality standards for which Babcock is recognised.”

Captain Jonathan Fry RN, the MoD's Frigates & MCM Team Leader, said: "Babcock Rosyth has once again delivered a ship on time, in a very good material state, ready for trials of its enhanced systems and equipment.  Under current plans in the Surface Ship Support Alliance, HMS Portland is the final Type 23 Frigate to be allocated to Rosyth and completes a very successful series of frigate refits where strong partnering and pride in the end product have shone through.  Type 23 frigates are the backbone of the RN's global operations; HMS Portland now has a much enhanced capability and will play a vital role in protecting our nation's interests."

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