Babcock has successfully delivered a long term contract to upgrade the 4.5 inch Mk8 gun to Mod1 standard, with the completion this month (June) of the last gun system upgrade to programme and cost.
Babcock undertook the first Mk8 Mod1 upgrade under the contract in 2005. The seven year programme has involved major modification and overhaul work to convert 13 Mk8 guns to Mod1 standard, to provide improved safety and reliability and a reduced maintenance requirement. The Mk8 Mod1 gun features new electric drives, improving safety and power consumption efficiency and reducing overall weight and below-deck space requirements, as well as a computer-based test and diagnostics system.
Babcock continues to deliver in-service support to the Mk8 Mod1 gun systems under an on-going CLS contract. This includes providing a 24 hour technical help desk, maintenance and repairs as required, provision of spares (held at base and onboard) including management of stock levels for maximum cost-efficiency, and sourcing for replacement of obsolete items, all delivered against specified availability targets.
Babcock is recognised as a leading contractor for weapon support work for the UK MoD and is expert in the assembly, test and setting to work of naval weapon systems. In addition to the upgrade programme and on-going support of the Mk8 Mod1 gun, the company also holds contracts to provide long-term in-service support for the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System and to upgrade the Phalanx systems to Block 1B. Additionally the company is now bidding with Oto Melara to supply the 127mm 64 cal Light Weight Medium Calibre Gun System to the MoD for the Type 26 global combat ship, with Babcock as the prime contractor, providing assembly, test, setting to work and on-going in-service support for the gun.
Commenting on the company’s successful completion of the Mk8 Mod1 upgrade programme, Babcock Equipment Solutions Managing Director, John Stratton, said: “We are delighted to have successfully delivered the full Mk8 Mod1 upgrade programme on-time and in-budget, further underlining our strong capability in the field of weapon support and upgrade for the MoD and Royal Navy.
“Our experienced and skilled team of dedicated engineers, and policy of continuous review and improvement of our systems and processes, as well as our large purpose-built waterfront facility, have enabled us to manage the upgrade programme efficiently and cost-effectively. For example, we have introduced a bespoke ‘pulse’ software to drive down non-value-adding tasks and control the day to day production activities. We are one of the only companies to provide the MoD with a total weapons facility (a one stop shop for all CLS contracting activities) and we continue to apply this valuable expertise and capability in our on-going availability and system upgrade contracts.”
With the upgrade programme now complete, Babcock will be concentrating on the follow-on contract – a long term contract for worldwide in-service supportfor nineteen 4.5 inch Mod1 guns which will include management of spares, overhaul, post-design services, obsolescence resolution and reliability improvements.
In addition to the Mk8 Mod1 gun and Phalanx CIWS support and upgrade services, Babcock also provides post design services (involving on-going support though continuing design change and development, improving product reliability, and management of change control processes) for the Goalkeeper, Harpoon and Floating Decoy Launching (DLF) weapon systems. The company also holds refurbishment contracts for the DLF and GWS-25 Seawolf systems.