UK: Babcock to Refit Trindent Missile Submarine HMS Vengeance

Babcock to Refit Trindent Missile Submarine HMS Vengeance

Babcock has been awarded a contract by the MoD for a £350 million three-and-a-half year refit of the Trident missile carrying submarine HMS Vengeance, to be undertaken at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.

HMS Vengeance is the fourth and last of the Vanguard class submarines to undergo a Long Overhaul Period and Refuel (LOP(R)).  The submarine is now at Devonport ready to dock down this month, and will remain in dry dock until flood up in late 2014.

The contracting agreement between Babcock and the MoD to undertake the LOP(R) on Vengeance reflects the successful ground-breaking arrangement established on Vigilant, with a focus on joint working and fully embedded partnering, greater transparency of information including financial data, cost-reduction while improving safety and quality standards, and incentives to achieve or better the agreed schedule.

Work to be undertaken during the LOP(R) includes fitting Vengeance with the latest reactor core, as used in the new Astute class submarines, fuelling the submarine for life, and a number of updates and upgrades to her tactical and strategic weapons systems, as well as surveys, hull & structure preservation and overhaul of all the submarine’s major components, systems and equipment.  The work scope includes some first-of-class fits, with the intention to install main static converters to replace the high maintenance motor generators for essential electrical power conversion, a significant package of work to upgrade the propulsion system instrumentation, and upgrades to the tactical combat systems.

Building on lessons learnt from the three previous Vanguard class LOP(R)s, a number of components in systems such as hydraulic systems, pressurised gas systems and trim, bilge and ballast system valves and pipe work will be removed and overhauled without requiring initial survey or test, saving time and enabling advance planning.  The LOP(R) will also feature an increase in constructive surveys of the submarine hull to ensure it is in good condition for on-going life, made possible by the latest non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques.

Overall the programme will involve over 2.5 million man hours and over 2,000 personnel across the supply chain, including 1,000 Babcock personnel and 300 local subcontractors.  Orders are already in hand for some 850,000 individual items needed, from a screw the size of a pinhead to large items of new plant and equipment.

In preparation for the LOP(R) Babcock has already undertaken some advance surveys and inspection work on Vengeance at Clyde.  Meanwhile, other preparation work including structural surveys and maintenance has also been on-going in Devonport to prepare 9 Dock and its associated facilities, ready for Vengeance to be docked down.

Commenting on the LOP(R) project, Babcock Managing Director Submarines, Mike Homer, said: “Babcock is extremely pleased to have agreed this significant contract with the MoD by positively building upon the previous contract for HMS Vigilant.  I cannot over emphasise the benefits achieved via the joint partnering ethos, that places delivering to meet the customer’s needs as the utmost priority for all parties involved – including the customer’s own team who have a vital role in soliciting inputs and decisions from the wider MoD, Royal Navy and stakeholder community, and for all parties to proactively engage on finding resolutions for complex technical issues.  The joint team is already well established and focused on making this contract a success in the widest sense.  The Project Manager Jonathan Benzie and MoD’s Project Contract Manager Commander Ian Bartlett have the full backing of the MoD and Babcock teams to support them in their objectives.”

Announcing the HMS Vengeance refit contract during a visit to Devonport Royal Dockyard, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:  “This contract will ensure the nuclear deterrent submarine fleet can continue to operate safely and effectively to maintain a continuous at sea deterrent. As we stabilise the defence budget we are increasingly able to commit to equipment projects to safeguard the UK’s National Security.  Devonport Royal Dockyard is at the heart of maintaining and supporting the Royal Navy.  Our White Paper published earlier this year said we would support key sovereign capabilities in British companies that help us to protect our national security and this contract with Babcock is evidence of that commitment.”

HMS Vengeance will now remain at Devonport undergoing her LOP(R) until 2015 when she will leave for sea trials.

Naval Today Staff, March 26, 2012; Image: royalnavy