Babcock is to set the first Phalanx 1B Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) to work on a Type 45 destroyer this month, following a first-of-class installation in HMS Daring.
Babcock undertakes equipment procurement from the US original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Raytheon, and will supervise the installation in HMS Daring at Portsmouth Naval Base. Once the installation of the two systems is complete Babcock engineers will then commission the systems, culminating in Naval Weapon Sea Trial (NWST) including a towed target firing.
The installation of Phalanx 1B in HMS Daring represents the 5th and 6th fit of the 1B system. Under a contract held by Babcock as prime contractor to upgrade 16 Phalanx systems to the 1B system capability on Royal Navy vessels, the company has previously been responsible for two installations of the upgraded systems on Type 42 destroyer HMS York and on fleet replenishment ship RFA Fort Victoria.
Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system. The Phalanx Block 1B upgrade incorporates a side mounted Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera (FLIR) enabling the CIWS to defend the ship against surface targets and slow air targets in addition to anti-ship missiles.
The Phalanx system will add further armament to the Type 45, which has a comprehensive suite of weapons and equipment including the sophisticated Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) and the 4.5 inch Mark 8 Mod 1 gun system, and is equipped with the Surface Ship Torpedo Defence System.
Commenting on the first installation on a Type 45 destroyer, the largest and most powerful air defence destroyers ever operated by the Royal Navy, Babcock operations manager Martin Laity said: "A first-of-class fit always involves some challenges, including an unproven ship fit, and working with many installation contractors and ship's services within extremely challenging completion schedules. This can involve sailing with the ship to complete the set to work process."
The installation in HMS Daring will take eight weeks, including two weeks to install followed by six weeks of testing.
In addition to providing the 1B upgrade installations, Babcock has a ten year support contract for the 36 Phalanx systems, based on providing availability of the systems throughout their life on board ship. Babcock manages and executes upkeep support activities including safety case management, and provides a 24/7 helpdesk to the Royal Navy, supplying a point of contact for front-line maintainers and operators to resolve any technical issues arising. The company also takes responsibility for logistics support for spares and repairable units.
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