Babcock has started a nine month refit on the UK Royal Navy's Type 23 guided-missile frigate, HMS Somerset (F82), as part of the Surface Ship Support Phase 2 programme at Devonport Dockyard.
HMS Somerset is the first destroyer to undergo a refit under the Surface Ship Support Alliance (SSSA) class output management (COM) Phase 2 arrangements, effective from April 2012.
A full implementation of the SSSA initiative across all legacy in-service platforms will be performed on the frigate in a bid to dramatically boost the operational life of surface warships.
The upgrades include new DNA(2) command system, which is central to the ship's capability against air, surface and underwater threats, with integrated weapons; while the sonar and radar system integration will be performed during upgrade commissioning phase.
The SeaWolf mid-life upgrade (SWMLU) with tracking, guidance and weapon management updates to counter evolving anti-ship missile threats, as well as equipping the defence information infrastructure (DII), are among the other upgrades to the frigate.
An upgraded high-pressure air system and underwater inlets and outlets modifications are among the mechanical upgrades on HMS Somerset.
A deep maintenance programme will be carried out as part of the refit, which includes overhaul of valves, generators, rudders, propellers and shafts, the helicopter handling system, refrigeration and fresh water systems on the vessel.
The refit is expected to significantly increase Somerset's sustainability and combat capabilities, while ensuring a smooth transition to contracting for availability under COM.
HMS Somerset is scheduled to undergo sea trials by end of this year.
Image: HMS Somerset (F82) is the first destroyer to undergo refit under the SSSA initiative. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.