Landmark week for Vanguard Class Submarines at Devonport

Two of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard Class submarines passed the breakwater of Devonport Royal Dockyard this week, as they separately embarked upon new stages in their maritime service.

During a momentous week, HMS VENGEANCE, on her journey out to sea trials following a three year Long Overhaul Period ( Refuel) (LOP (R), sailed by sister boat HMS VANGUARD as she arrived for a scheduled Deep Maintenance Project (Refuel) DMP(R) .

The Vanguard Class maintenance periods are managed and delivered by Babcock International, the UK’s leading engineering support services company, at its Devonport facility.

These projects harness the talent and skills of Babcock’s workforce and sustain significant employment in the Plymouth area while also supporting a strong supply chain across the UK.

HMS VANGUARD Arrives for Deep Maintenance

The arrival of HMS VANGUARD to Devonport signifies the start of an historic programme of work to be carried out under a planned period of maintenance. The contract is worth around £200m with additional cost of the upkeep met under the current Maritime Support Delivery Framework, awarded to Babcock in October 2014. This will be the largest single Submarine refit package ever carried out in the UK and will involve an estimated 2,000 personnel at Devonport.

HMS VANGUARD will undergo a Life Extension (LifEx) process as part of the maintenance project; this will see the life of the structure and systems being extended significantly from its original planned life of 25 years. In addition to the LifEx programme there are significant additional other packages to support the continued use of the Submarine these are:-

  • Refuelling of the Reactor Core
  • Plant Life Extension (PLEX) – revalidation for continued operation of the reactor systems and components
  • Platform equipment changes and upgrades to provide greater reliability and availability
  • Capability upgrades to ensure the Submarine is fit and capable to perform its roles for the next commission
  • Submarine systems replacement programme which will replace many miles of pipework and electrical cabling

HMS VENGEANCE Enters Sea Trials

After three years, more than 2.6 million working hours and the involvement of in excess of 2,000 skilled individuals, HMS Vengeance departed Babcock’s facilities at Devonport for sea trials after her £350m refuel and refit. The contract delivered a number of firsts including:

  • Significant technical upgrades to the propulsion and reactor systems
  • A Reactor Control and Instrumentation (RC&I) upgrade to further enhance nuclear safety
  • The design of a new layout for the Junior Rates Mess to allow more seating at mealtimes and better staff rotation.

The LOP (R) included the incorporation of more than 150 design Alterations and Additions (A&As) and Class Modifications, and over 32,000 litres of paint were applied to the submarine.

The contract sustained an estimated 2,000 British jobs, including more than 1,000 at Babcock in Devonport and a further 300 at other companies in Plymouth. Such was the scale of the refit that another 700 jobs in the industrial supply chain across the UK were also positively impacted.

Gavin Leckie, Director Submarine Support, Babcock said: “These challenging and complex projects utilise the skills and expertise of Babcock’s workforce at Devonport, and the extended UK talent pool, to safely deliver a product to the exacting quality standards and expectations of our Customer. We are very proud of our long – term partnership with the MOD and the Royal Navy and our teams are focussed on providing reliability, continuity and increasing value to our customer. While we bid goodbye to HMS VENGEANCE we are all looking forward to getting underway with our work on HMS VANGUARD.“