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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Babcock to begin the planning phase for the multi-million pound refit of the Trident ballistic missile submarine, HMS Vengeance.

The vessel will be the fourth and last of the Vanguard-class submarines to undergo a long overhaul period and refuel (LOP(R)) at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.

LOP(R) is a three-and-a-half-year project involving 2,000-plus personnel and two million man hours.

The overhaul will include equipping the submarine with the latest reactor core, fuel for life and updates and upgrades to its tactical and strategic weapons systems, hull preservation, and major components, systems and equipment.

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The planning phase for the LOP(R) will take 18 months and will cover many key aspects and will be undertaken by a joint team involving Babcock, the MoD and Rolls Royce.

The LOP(R) will commence when the LOP(R) of the HMS Vigilant is completed in 2012.