UK: HMS Chiddingfold at Sea Again

HMS Chiddingfold at Sea Again2

The UK Royal Navy’s first Hunt-class mine countermeasure vessel (MCMV), HMS Chiddingfold (M37), has successfully completed refit programme with BAE Systems, and is scheduled to undergo sea trials.

As a part of its mid-life upgrade, the 60m-long ship has been refitted with new Caterpillar C32 advanced combustion emission-reducing technology (ACERT) diesel engines to replace its old Napier Deltics to help boost operational reliability.

The refit programme also involved upgrades to Chiddingfold’s machinery monitoring systems and computer systems, as well as removal of obsolete equipment to reduce maintenance load and increase availability of the vessel for operational duties.

BAE was awarded the £15m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in October 2010, to replace the 30-year-old propulsion systems onboard Royal Navy’s eight Hunt-class vessels. Under the contract, the company will integrate new engines, gearboxes, bow thrusters, propellers and machinery control systems on to all vessels in this class by 2016.

HMS Chiddingfold’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Rees, said:

 “I am immensely proud of the effort my crew have put in over the last 572 days to get the ship to this point. Our upgrades mean we will soon be ‘Leading the Hunt’ with our increased serviceability and reliability.”

Cheery Chid has spent the past year in her home port of Portsmouth being upgraded with Caterpillar C32 Advanced Combustion Emission Reducing Technology (ACERT) diesel engines to replace her old Napier Deltics, essentially creating a new class of Hunt MCMV. She has also received upgrades to her machinery monitoring systems, computer systems and had obsolete equipment removed, alongside a general spruce up.

 Operations Officer, Lieutenant Tom Wall, said:

“The ship has been transformed in the last few months, from little more than a shell in dry dock to the seagoing warship we see today and it has been a real pleasure to be a part of this transformation.”

The upgrades will significantly extend the engines operational lives, improving their efficiency, reliability and significantly reducing their emissions, maintaining the RNs position in the forefront of Mine Warfare Operations.

The 45-strong ship’s company, working with BAE and Finnings, will now continue with sea trials on the new systems before operational training begins to get Chid back to the front line.

Naval Today Staff, March 26, 2013