The UK Royal Navy’s Invincible-class light aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (R07) has successfully completed its £12m refurbishment by BVT Surface Fleet and is ready to enter the water for two-week post maintenance testing.

The 20,000t warship will sail out of Portsmouth Naval Base to undergo marine and engineering trials in the Navy’s training areas off the south-west of England.

The upgrade work made on the HMS Ark Royal includes painting the hull with new Intersleek paint, which will reduce drag, speeding the ship up by 2kt and reducing fuel and emissions by 9%.

In addition, BVT has upgraded the ship with new exhaust systems, an updated IT network and enhancements to the sewage treatment plants, gearboxes, main engines and diesel generators.

Following sea trials, the Ark Royal will take over its role as flagship from its sister ship HMS Illustrious in 2010.