Babcock International Group has commenced the post-life extension (LIFEX) work on the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Argyll.

The company is carrying out the associated work at its Devonport facility’s Frigate Support Centre (FSC) in Plymouth, UK.

According to Babcock, HMS Argyll is the first Duke-class frigate to receive a post-LIFEX maintenance at FSC, which uses a new innovative approach for re-certification.

The work will see Babcock performing design changes for new capabilities, including mixed crewing and communications upgrades, along with overhaul of the ship’s equipment.

Additionally, HMS Argyll will receive full spray coat of paint on its side and outer bottom.

HMS Argyll upkeep project manager Sarah Hilder said: “HMS Argyll presents a huge opportunity to demonstrate Babcock working in collaboration with our customer throughout planning period and by implementing new efficient and innovative processes we are striving to complete project in a reduced timescale compared to a standard upkeep.”

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The post-LIFEX work has started simultaneously as the frigate is being prepared for undergoing the Lloyds structural survey.

This work is expected to support Argyll in achieving an early full ship assessment in nine weeks.

HMS Argyll, commissioned in 1991, was the first Type 23 warship to undergo refit work under RN’s LIFEX programme in 2015. It returned to the fleet in 2017.

Babcock is also providing life-extension to other Type 23 warships under LIFEX programme.

In 2020, HMS Somerset shifted from dry dock to continue its LIFEX refit at FSC Devonport facility and has recently been declared ready for sea date and beginning of sea trials.

Meanwhile, Babcock said that HMS Iron Duke has recently been undocked, while HMS St Albans is preparing to flood up later this month.