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The UK Royal Navy’s Albion-class amphibious command ship HMS Albion has entered into the next phase of its refit programme, with the external hull work almost complete.

The ship has been placed into extended readiness and is being refitted in dry dock in Devonport Docks, Plymouth, UK, from the past five years, as part of the navy’s efforts to cut its running costs.

The navy plans to refloat the ship in the middle of this year, with its staff to move on-board early next year before commencing sea trials later in the year.

“The ship’s company is now growing by the day, with all the infrastructure of a running unit in place.”

Upon completion of the work, the ship will have a much improved combat system compared to her sister, with the addition of Phalanx, 997-radar and a new command system.

A major package of work will see more than 110 alterations and additions incorporated into the ship to prepare operations.

The work also includes the addition of an updated fire detection system, and an upgrade to fresh water cooling for the propulsion system.

HMS Albion weapons engineering head commander Mark Hocking said: "Having joined the ship in September 2014 when there were only a handful of personnel standing by, no lighting, ventilation or power, it has been an incredible journey to get her to this stage.

"The ship’s company is now growing by the day, with all the infrastructure of a running unit in place, and to see the new equipment and systems coming to life is a massive milestone.”

The ship is on track for her next major milestone of leaving the dry dock at the end of May.

Image: Work in progress by Babcock engineers. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.