Babcock has begun an upgrade and maintenance programme on the UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class vessel HMS Sutherland (F81) at the company’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.
During the programme, Babcock will provide extensive upgrades and improvements in order to significantly improve the Type 23 ship’s sustainability and fighting capability.
The Type 23 industry-led Class Output Management (COM) team under the Surface Ship Support Alliance comprising the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), Babcock and BAE Systems has developed and planned the eight-month docking period to ensure optimised efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the programme.
Babcock surface ship support COM delivery team leader Simon Dyer said T23 COM will continue to take an even deeper understanding of material state of HMS Sutherland to help further fleet time packages planning, throughout this next period.
"This is the first T23 upkeep where the entire end to end planning process has been under the Surface Ship Support Alliance Phase 2 and where industry has very much led on the content and optimisation of the package to provide the necessary through-life availability and capability," Dyer said.
Upgrades to HMS Sutherland include installation of advanced radar target indication situational awareness and navigation 3D radar to enhance air-defence, anti-ship and air traffic management capabilities of the ship, as well as the DNA(2) command system.
The programme also includes installation of chloropac system, an upgrade to the high pressure air system pipework to provide safe, reliable and flexible isolation when required, underwater inlets and outlets modification to reduce corrosion and a galley equipment upgrade.
The MoD T23 strategic class authority, captain Matt Harrison, said: "The HMS Sutherland upkeep project is a key element of the surface ship programme that will enable further benefits to be realised by both industry and MoD members of the alliance."
In addition to programme of deep maintenance, the docking period will also involve programme of maintenance and minor upgrades on weapons systems such as the 4.5in gun, as well as a full structural survey to highlight any repair work required.
Following the end of the eight-month docking period, HMS Sutherland will undergo sea trials in summer 2014.
Image: HMS Sutherland fires saluting guns. Photo: courtesy of Joel Rouse.