Babcock begins work on HMS Montrose

Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose has docked down at Devonport Royal Dockyard where Babcock is undertaking a 15 month refit programme including a number of upgrades and improvements.

The workscope for the docking period has been developed by the industry-led Type 23 COM team, under the Surface Ship Support Alliance (MoD, Babcock and BAE Systems), drawing on their knowledge of the material state of the vessel and lessons learned from previous successful Type 23 refits, helping to ensure that the right work is undertaken at the right time and minimise emergent work, and to ensure maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness for optimum value for money.

Among the 16 upgrades and improvements are: Radar 996 replacement with Artisan 3D Medium Range Radar 997, Vertical Launch Seawolf midlife update, installation of a chloropac system that reduces marine growth in the pipe system, installation of Automatic Small Calibre Guns, modifications to high pressure air systems to allow safer system isolation, and galley updates.

Additionally, a programme of deep maintenance will be carried out, including rudder inspections, shaft replacement, replacement or overhaul of all hull valves, revalidation of the hull and structures, renewal of high and low pressure air compressors and a large re-preservation programme.

Commenting on the project ahead, Babcock Managing Director Warships Mike Whalley said:  “Among the challenges involved in this refit is the completion of the 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.  This will include the 100% removal of the dock blocks to allow survey and painting of the hull, using an innovative hydraulic lifting process which was successfully used for the first time on a Type 23 earlier this year on HMS Monmouth.”

He continued: “Having applied our experience built up over previous Type 23 refits to develop a comprehensive, efficient and effective workscope we now look forward to delivering this on-time, safely and successfully, and to returning HMS Montrose with improved sustainability and fighting capability, in-budget and on-schedule, and in a good material state to continue her role.”

Type 23 Frigates’ Team Leader, Captain Giulian Hill said: “The upkeep of HMS Montrose is a significant milestone in the ship’s life.  It provides an important opportunity for reinvestment in the ship’s material state which will be delivered under the successful partnership between the MoD and Babcock.“

HMS Montrose is scheduled to leave Devonport for sea trials in early 2016, returning to the Fleet in early spring 2016.