Type 23 frigate HMS Kent has left Babcock's Rosyth dockyard to start sea trials, with a number of significant upgrades following a successful refit by Babcock.
The demanding and tightly scheduled project has seen HMS Kent receive more than 20 upgrades, as well as undergoing a full programme of deep maintenance including structural repairs, renewal of hull coatings and refurbishment and maintenance of all the ship's systems and equipment. Babcock's experience on previous Type 23 docking periods and the close and effective working between Babcock, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), and Ship's Staff have contributed significantly to ensuring optimum efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety; resulting in the successful completion of the programme, on-time and in-budget.
Upgrades and improvements as a result of the refit include: installation of Sonar 2087, the tactical variable depth anti-submarine warfare system (involving significant structural modifications to the aft end); the new DNA(2) Command System (central to the ship's fighting capability against air surface and underwater threats); the SeaWolf Mid-Life Update comprising tracking, guidance and weapon management upgrades; the 4.5 Mk8 Mod1 gun replacement and the new 30mm Automatic Small Calibre Gun fit; installation of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (known as DII(F)) system to enable information sharing and collaborative working across the Armed Forces and MOD; NATO radial filters to protect fresh air supplies against nuclear, biological, or chemical attack; and a new sophisticated incident detection system.
Additionally, living and working conditions on-board in even the most extreme ambient temperatures have been improved with a 'globalisation' fit, which involved a re-design of the entire ship's air conditioning system affecting most compartments on-board. There were also galley equipment upgrades and habitability improvements, as well as mechanical system upgrades.
Babcock project manager Russell Glancy commented: "This project, over its 50 week timeframe, has involved an extensive scope of work and a number of challenges which have been successfully met. In addition to the multiple upgrades and improvements, the 295,000 manhour project has involved the overhaul of some 500 or so items of equipment and has seen more than 13km of cable installed and 15,000 litres of paint applied. It is thanks to the pro-active approach and strong spirit of partnering displayed throughout by all key stakeholders (Babcock, ship's staff and MoD), that we have successfully met the challenges; on-schedule and to cost and quality. HMS Kent now leaves in the best possible material condition to commence her sea trials ahead of the ship's return to operational duties."
MoD Project Group Manager David Winstanley said: "To have achieved the ready for sea date to the original contracted schedule has been a tremendous achievement. It is a testament to the strength and durability of the Babcock/Ship's Staff/MoD partnership and to the valuable contributions made by the wider stakeholder community."
HMS Kent will now undergo sea trials before returning to the Fleet in February 2012.
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