HMS Trenchant Begins Her RAMP at Devonport, UK
Trafalgar class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN) HMS Trenchant has docked down at Devonport Royal Dockyard for a substantial two year Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) being undertaken by Babcock.
The RAMP will ensure the submarine is safe to operate for the rest of her commission, and will include the installation of a new rudder and a further development of ultrasonic non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques on submarine structures.
The removal and installation of a new rudder will be among the key work to be undertaken, along with an overhaul of both the port and starboard circulating water systems, the largest survey package to date, and an upgrade to the nuclear steam raising plant (NSRP).
Trenchant’s RAMP will also mark a ‘first’ with a trial of an eddy current NDT technique that allows weld lines to be inspected without paint removal. If successful this technique will be rolled out on future platforms.
The RAMP will also be the first to be undertaken under the remit of the new Facility Safety Case, which improves the integration of the submarine within the dock facilities and allows the constraints associated with nuclear implicated work to be reflected efficiently within the RAMP schedule.
In addition, the RAMP will include a significant survey and repair of the Sonar 2076 flank arrays, the installation of the Defence Information Infrastructure, a large galley upgrade, and application of the recently developed internal non-destructive testing (NDT) inspection method of the tail shaft.
This substantial RAMP package is due to take over two years to complete and will include a 40 week period in dry dock. The project is set to involve over 400,000 manhours as well as a significant subcontract requirement for equipment upgrades, overhauls and commissioning.
Babcock SSN Project Manager Ian Mcleod points out: “This will be the largest RAMP yet undertaken in Devonport, and we will be applying and further developing our use of key project management tools such as Earned Value Management (EVM), to ensure that schedule adherence and cost control is optimised. The implementation of the new modern standards safety case has focused our attention at the planning phase and we have learned lessons from previous projects to improve control of work processes.”
Babcock will be working closely with the MoD and Royal Navy to deliver this RAMP successfully, combining Babcock’s knowledge and experience to lead the planning of the project with the detailed specialist knowledge of the ship’s company to ensure key issues are addressed, and input from the customer to help manage the interface with the Design Authorities.
Mcleod states: “The RAMP is very much a joint project between Babcock, MoD and ship’s staff. Together we will shape this project and deliver it, to schedule, cost and quality.”
MoD PCM RAMP Cdr Neil Moffatt said: “This is a challenging package of work involving maintenance, system revalidation and capability upgrade that will require the efficient working of the Joint Project Team to ensure that Trenchant is completed on time to safely meet her downstream programme.“
Press Release, September 20, 2013; Image: Royal Navy