Type 23 upkeeps

Sustaining the core of the Royal Navy’s front line fleet 

Babcock is extending the operational life of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Class Frigates to operate well beyond their original design life expectancy.

Working with the Royal Navy through the Surface Ship Support Alliance, we are ensuring that the Type 23 Class remains relevant against today’s threat, and de-risking its future transition.

Entering service for the first time in 1989, the Type 23 Frigate has proven itself a highly capable platform. With its replacement, the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, not set to enter service until later this decade, the Type 23 Class must operate beyond its original design life.

Working closely with our customer to understand their requirements, and collaborating with the other members of the Alliance, we ensure successful delivery of Type 23 upkeeps, maximising platform

At a glance:

  • Type 23s entered service in 1989 for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic
  • Royal Navy identified need to extend the operational life of the Type 23 Class frigates
  • In 2015, the upkeep programme started at Babcock’s Devonport facility
  • Babcock offers through-life platform management, globally
  • In 2023, we took on full end-to-end upkeep responsibility for the Royal Navy

Delivering through-life platform management

Type 23 upkeeps take place at our Devonport facility, with capability updates including the replacement of the primary weapon system, major upgrade to marine equipment and changes to address equipment obsolescence. Our teams also carry out extensive work to extend the life of the hull and superstructure.

Our support doesn’t stop when the vessel leaves our facility, as we provide adaptable through-life platform management, whenever and wherever it’s needed. With class output management we offer support solutions globally, in water or in a nearby location, to maximise platform availability.

Taking on full Type 23 upkeep responsibility for the Royal Navy

In late 2023 we were awarded the contract to manage the Type 23 class frigate Refit Support Group, taking end-to-end responsibility for vessel upkeep and regeneration in preparation for handover to the ship’s crew.

This innovative change follows more than five years of close working between the Royal Navy-led Refit Support Group and Babcock. It frees up UK Royal Navy personnel for front line operations and creates new and exciting roles for 40 Babcock engineering technicians and managers at our Devonport facility, who now take responsibility for routine maintenance, addressing emergent defects and contracted upkeep projects.

Our Type 23 Refit Support Group engineering technicians work alongside our Upkeep project teams to ensure vessel systems are maintained and regenerated. The move is targeted to deliver improved platform availability through more seamless management of upkeep activity. It has already contributed to success in assisting Ship’s Staff and the Upkeep project team in delivering HMS St Albans to sea three months ahead of schedule.

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