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Work begins on HMS Sutherland operation

Babcock International Group PLC : 25 November, 2013  (Application Story)
The Royal Navy's HMS Sutherland is in dry dock in Devonport for upgrade and maintenance work being carried out by Babcock
Work begins on HMS Sutherland operation

Babcock has begun work to deliver an upgrade and maintenance programme on HMS Sutherland, which will see the Type 23 frigate receive extensive upgrades and improvements that will significantly increase the ship’s sustainability and fighting capability.  Sutherland docked down on Friday, 22 November, at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.

The workscope for the eight month docking period has been developed and planned by the Type 23 industry-led Class Output Management (COM) team under the Surface Ship Support Alliance (MoD, Babcock and BAE Systems), drawing on previous experience and the improving material state knowledge being built up by the COM team to enable workscope development to become increasingly well informed.  The affordable, comprehensive workscope has been developed to ensure that the programme will be delivered with optimised efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Among the 16 upgrades to HMS Sutherland under the programme are the installation of Artisan (Advanced Radar Target Indication Situational Awareness and Navigation) 3D Radar (improving the ship’s air-defence, anti-ship and air traffic management capabilities), and the DNA(2) Command System (central to the ship’s capability against air, surface and underwater threats).  Other upgrades the chloropac system (to improve performance in the ship’s sea water cooling systems by preventing or reducing marine growth), an upgrade to the high pressure air system pipework (to provide safe, reliable and flexible isolation when required), modification to the underwater inlets and outlets to reduce corrosion, and a galley equipment upgrade, among others.

The docking period will also include a programme of deep maintenance, including removal of rudders and stabilisers along with a programme of maintenance on the propeller shafts and associated bearings, overhaul of the helicopter handling system (PRISM), a complete overhaul or renewal of all underwater and shipside valves and numerous pumps and motors from various ship systems, replacement of laundry equipment and of the sonar bow dome, and overhaul of refrigeration and fresh water systems.  There will also be a programme of maintenance and minor upgrades on weapons systems including the 4.5 inch gun, while a full structural survey of the ship will highlight any repair work required.

Among the challenges involved in the refit is the completion of a major dry blast and painting programme (involving almost total renewal of the ship’s paint coatings from the water line up) while completing other maintenance and upgrade work within the necessary timescales, requiring careful scheduling and programme management.

Commenting on the project, Babcock’s Surface Ship Support COM Delivery Team Leader, Simon Dyer, said: “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.  Throughout this next period T23 COM will continue to take this through-life view and build up an even deeper understanding of HMS Sutherland’s material state to aid further planning of Fleet Time packages.  We look forward to delivering this programme safely and successfully, and returning Sutherland in-budget and on-schedule.”

Captain Matt Harrison RN, the MoD T23 Strategic Class Authority 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.”

HMS Sutherland is now in dock at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard, and is due to leave for sea trials in summer 2014.

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