UK: HMS Illustrious ‘Raring To Go’ After USD 64.7 Million Refit


After £40m work carried out over the past 16 months, Lusty has set off down the long road to front-line service which will take her to the end of her life in 2014.

The carrier left Rosyth today for an extensive series of trials in UK waters before returning to her natural home in Portsmouth.

She is, says her Commanding Officer Capt Jerry Kyd, “raring to go” – as are her 600-strong ship’s company who are

“Ready to take this great ship through her trials, and then home to Portsmouth where we will prepare for her exciting future role.”

“Sailing from Rosyth for the last time is an historic day for us. We are in top condition for the challenges ahead thanks to the hard work of my sailors, plus the successful partnership we’ve had with industry.”

Since arriving on the Forth at the beginning of last year, Illustrious has seen her communications kit enhanced, mess areas – the crew’s living spaces – revamped, a new anti-torpedo system fitted, and has had 540,000 litres of paint (enough to fill one fifth of an Olympic-sized swimming pool) applied, including a fuel-efficient coating to her outer hull which will make her scythe through the oceans more efficiently, among other work carried out by Babcock and the ship’s company.

Above all, however, the ship emerges from refit capable of carrying up to 20 helicopters and 600 troops as an assault ship (a function she performed for real during operations in Afghanistan in 2001-02).

She’ll serve as the nation’s on-call helicopter carrier when HMS Ocean goes into refit,

“This has been a challenging project, delivered to a very high standard by the joint team – on time and on budget.”

said Capt Graeme Little, of the Capital Ships team at the Defence Equipment and Support organisation.

“We approach Illustrious’ return to the navy with confidence in the significant improvements which have been made.”

After an initial week-long run-out of Rosyth earlier this month, a more thorough work-out for Lusty is now underway over the next five weeks.

She’s due in Portsmouth in late July, when she’ll be formally handed back to the Fleet.
Source: royal-navy, June 21, 2011;