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Babcock International has announced the completion of factory acceptance testing (FAT) of the Type 26 frigate’s air weapons handling system (AWHS).

The AWHS was developed for BAE Systems by Babcock’s Defence Systems Technology team in Leicester, UK.

BAE Systems awarded the contract to design and supply the AWHS for the UK’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) in 2014.

Under the contract, Babcock is required to design, manufacture, test and oversee the installation of the AWHS system on the 13 ships planned in the UK Type 26 GCS programme.

The AWHS will provide a flexible and configurable stowage arrangement to handle and stow all air weapons.

It is designed to store and retrieve munitions within magazine environments that are highly space-constrained.

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The AWHS’s handling system will enable the transfer of munitions from their stowages to designated weapon preparation areas from where they are transferred onto aircraft or into torpedo launch systems.

Babcock programme manager Andrew Hopkins said: “The successful testing of this new Air Weapons Handling capability is the culmination of significant effort and collaboration between BAE Systems, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the last five years; offering the Royal Navy (RN) a step change in mechanised weapon handling capability, including safety, speed of operation, space efficiency, weight, flexibility, shock resilience and low signature.”

The company has demonstrated the capability of the AWHS to representatives from BAE Systems, MoD, and RN.

BAE Systems Guided Weapons T26 delivery lead said: “This is a significant step forward for the AWHS, the FAT has clearly demonstrated the performance, function and flexibility of the design; it is a credit to the Babcock project team.

“Following the trials, there is every confidence that the system can be successfully integrated into the T26 platform and proven as a highly efficient weapon handling system.”

The contract also includes providing support functions to ensure through-life system performance and availability.

Babcock also supplies complete weapons handling and launch system for Australia’s Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers.