The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class vessel HMS Sutherland (F81) has completed its initial upgrade phase at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.
As part of the upgrade programme, which commenced a year ago, the vessel underwent work on its hull and upper deck. The upgrades on its steel will now double its service life to 36 years.
HMS Sutherland captain commander Stephen Anderson said: "This marks a major milestone in HMS Sutherland’s regeneration.
"We can now look forward to the final preparations for moving back on board in less than three weeks, whilst focusing our combined efforts on returning to sea and back to the fleet in early 2015."
Mainly aimed at improving the vessel’s sustainability and fighting capability, the programme involved extensive upgrades and improvements.
These included the installation of improved radar target indication, situational awareness and navigation 3D radar. These will improve the vessel’s air defence, anti ship and air traffic management capabilities, in addition to its DNA (2) command system.
Furthermore, a chloropac system was installed, while the high-pressure air system pipework was modernised to deliver safe, reliable and flexible isolation when required. Underwater inlets and outlets were changed to trim down corrosion, and a galley equipment upgrade also took place.
The docking period involved maintenance and minor upgrades on weapons systems, including the 4.5in gun, in addition to a full structural survey.
Image: HMS Sutherland leaving Babcock’s warship refit shed. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.