As a part of its mid-life upgrade, the 60m-long ship has been refitted with new Caterpillar C32 advanced combustion emission-reducing technology (ACERT) diesel engines to replace its old Napier Deltics to help boost operational reliability.
The refit programme also involved upgrades to Chiddingfold’s machinery monitoring systems and computer systems, as well as removal of obsolete equipment to reduce maintenance load and increase availability of the vessel for operational duties.
BAE was awarded the £15m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in October 2010, to replace the 30-year-old propulsion systems onboard Royal Navy’s eight Hunt-class vessels. Under the contract, the company will integrate new engines, gearboxes, bow thrusters, propellers and machinery control systems on to all vessels in this class by 2016.
HMS Chiddingfold commanding officer lieutenant commander Richard Rees said: "Our upgrades mean we will soon be ‘leading the Hunt’ with our increased serviceability and reliability."
Equipped with two Eca PAP 104 mk3 remotely controlled mine disposal vehicles for the identification and disposal of mines, the 750t vessel is armed with MSI DS 30B 30mm naval gun and Dillon Aero M134 mini gun close-in weapon system.
Featuring glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) construction for low magnetic signature, the Vosper Thorneycroft-built vessel is equipped with Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 surface warning and navigation radar as well as Easytrack subsea acoustic tracking system.
The mine countermeasure vessel will undergo sea trials prior to rejoining the Royal fleet for active service deployment.
Image: HMS Chiddingflod at sea. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.