Babcock begins first Type 23 frigate post-life extension upkeep

Babcock International Group, the defence company, has started a post-life extension (LIFEX) on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll at their Devonport facility. It is the first Type 23 to undergo a post-LIFEX upkeep, adopting a new innovative approach to re-certification at the facility’s Frigate Support Centre (FSC).

Babcock will overhaul equipment and carry out design changes for new capabilities such as communications upgrades and mixed crewing. The Duke Class frigate will also receive a full spray coat of paint the outer bottom and ship side.

Sarah Hilder, Project Manager for HMS Argyll’s upkeep, said: “HMS Argyll presents a huge opportunity to demonstrate Babcock working in collaboration with our customer throughout the planning period and by implementing new efficient and innovative processes we are striving to complete the project in a reduced timescale compared to a standard upkeep.”

Work began immediately with the vessel being prepared for a Lloyds structural survey to achieve an early full ship assessment in just nine weeks. 

Commissioned in 1991, HMS Argyll is the longest-serving Type 23 frigate and was the first to undergo upkeep within the LIFEX programme in 2015. After she returned to the Royal Navy in 2017 Babcock has continued to deliver the Type 23 life-extension programme across the fleet.

Babcock’s recent milestones on the programme include HMS Somerset achieving ready for sea date and commencing sea trials earlier this year, HMS Iron Duke recently undocking and HMS St Albans preparing to flood up later this month.