HMS Portland Arrives at Its Base-Port of Plymouth,UK

HMS Portland Arrives at Its Base-Port of Plymouth,UK

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Portland arrived at its base-port of Plymouth following a £27 million-pound refit.

The refit, in Rosyth, Scotland, took 50 weeks and was carried out by Babcock at the Fife dockyard.

With more than 260,000 man-hours invested in the almost year-long project, the 133-metre HMS Portland has returned to sea bristling with the latest high tech equipment, maintaining her role at the cutting edge of the Royal Navy’s fleet.

A total of 19 major system and capability upgrades have been undertaken, including the installation of anti-submarine warfare Sonar 2087, full upgrade of the ship’s it systems, Sea Wolf missile mid-life overhaul, gun replacements, galley refurbishment and accommodation improvements, to name but a few.

All involving 13 kilometres of cabling. The ship also had 15,000 litres of paint applied to her hull and superstructure.

Commander Sarah West, commanding officer of HMS Portland (newly-appointed captain of the ship), said:

“I am delighted to be returning to Devonport as commanding officer of HMS Portland.

“I and my ship’s company are looking forward to a well-deserved rest over Christmas with our friends and family before returning to embark on engineering trials and basic operational sea training in June next year.

“HMS Portland will officially return to the operational fleet in March, at which point we will be ready to undertake national and global tasking to meet the United Kingdom’s contribution to Defence.”

She added:

“I am very much looking forward to getting this fantastic ship back to sea to put her through her paces.

“In tandem with the MoD and Babcock, the crew has spent many long months working hard to return HMS Portland to fighting form.

“The ship is equipped for the many future challenges which greet the modern Fleet and we are ready to be with her every step of the way.

“It is an exciting moment returning a warship to sea after refit – we know that HMS Portland is in great shape for regaining full operational readiness early next year.”

The project has benefited from close partnership working between Babcock, the MoD, ship staff and the Class Output Management (COM) team under the Surface Ship Support Alliance, resulting in the refit programme being delivered on time and budget.

Babcock project manager Russell Glancy said:

“We have successfully met the challenges of this project, and applied our experience from previous Type 23 refits, along with strong partnering, to ensure delivery of this upgrade and maintenance programme.”

HMS Portland will undertake a further three months of sea trials before returning to Fleet and operational duties in early spring next year.

The 3,500 tonne Type 23 frigates, of which there are 13 in the Royal Navy’s Fleet, are ultra-capable and adaptable ships which protect the UK’s interests both in home waters and further afield.

Typical deployments will include anything from the Fleet ready escort, which is the UK’s high readiness ship, to counter narcotics, counter piracy and counter terrorism patrols.

These frigates can respond to requests for humanitarian aid and provide security at sea. HMS Portland was launched by Lady Heather Brigstocke in 1999 and commissioned into the Fleet in May 2001.

It is the eighth ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name.

Naval Today Staff, December 19, 2012; Image: Royal Navy