£65m Contract to Refit Royal Navy's Largest Warship Secures Hundreds of UK Jobs
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Dec. 12, 2012)
With the retirement of the light carrier HMS Illustrious, HMS Ocean will be the Royal Navy’s only large aircraft-capable ship until the
HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest warship, will receive a £65M upgrade, the MOD announced today.

Work on the helicopter carrier will secure more than 600 UK jobs. The warship was moored on the Thames during the Games and provided essential security support and a home for hundreds of military personnel responsible for venue security.

Her upgrade will be carried out at Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth and will be the largest upkeep programme of its kind to be carried out at the docks in more than 20 years.

The contract has been awarded to UK maritime support specialists Babcock, securing 300 jobs in Devonport. More than 70 contractors are also set to be involved in the project securing a further 300 jobs across the UK.

During the refit, which is expected to last 15 months, upgrades and improvements will be made to her radar, gun, command system and living quarters. Around 1,200 metres of new pipe work will be laid and around 100,000 litres of paint will be applied to HMS Ocean.

Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:

“HMS Ocean plays a crucial role supporting operations as we saw during the Olympics and the Libya campaign and it is essential that we continue to invest in the upkeep of this formidable vessel.

“I am delighted that this contract will not only ensure that HMS Ocean remains a significant, highly-flexible, and capable warship for years to come, but will also secure hundreds of jobs within the UK.

Vice Admiral Andrew Mathews, Chief of Materiel (Fleet) for the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said:

“Since entering service HMS Ocean has delivered comprehensive support to countless military operations as well as humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

“This extensive refit programme is essential in ensuring that this magnificent ship is able to continue in her role supporting and protecting the UK’s interests across the globe.

In addition to her Olympic duties, HMS Ocean played an integral role in the Libya campaign launching Apache attack helicopters from her deck to attack Libyan ground defences, the first time Apaches had been launched from a Royal Navy warship. (ends)

Babcock to Undertake Massive Upkeep Programme on HMS Ocean
(Source: Babcock; issued Dec. 12, 2012)
Babcock has started work on a major upkeep and upgrade programme on HMS Ocean in an extensive deep maintenance period that will be the largest on a Royal Navy warship in Devonport for over 20 years. The 15 month upkeep is also the first on an amphibious ship under the full implementation of the Surface Ship Support Alliance (SSSA) Class Output Management (COM) approach, under which Babcock leads the support of all amphibious vessels.

Work to be undertaken includes over 60 upgrades. These include the new 997 Medium Range Radar system; four 30mm Automated Small Calibre Gun Systems to replace existing 20mm guns (involving installation of over 20,000 metres of power and control cabling); a new fire detection system; the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)) enabling information sharing and collaborative working across the Armed Forces and MoD; and the DNA(2) Command System – the ‘brain’ of the ship and central to its fighting capability against air and surface threats.

Additionally, significant mechanical improvements include two major system installations, including a first-of-class Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) system which treats waste water and sewage to permit discharge at sea, and a further first-of-class ballast water treatment system. These will ensure the ship is compliant with new environmental legislation regarding treatment of ballast water and black and grey water discharges and able to operate anywhere in the world.

Other substantial work packages to be undertaken include major represervation work, and upgrades and improvements to living quarters including mess and recreational areas, cabins and bathrooms, as well as improvements to the laundry and sick bay complex, plus a full programme of deep maintenance. A full structural survey of the ship has already been undertaken following Ocean’s return from Olympic duties on the Thames, to confirm all repair work needed.

This massive upkeep period is around three times that of a typical Type 23 docking period in terms of volume of work, employing an average of 300 Babcock employees plus staff from over 70 contractor companies. In all some 1200 metres of new pipework will be installed, over 100 pumps, motors and valves will be overhauled in Babcock’s main factory, and around 100,000 litres of paint will be applied, as well as major structural modifications to the interior of the ship.

Various approaches and measures are being applied by the COM team to optimise delivery, with a view to achieving significant savings and efficiencies in the planning and execution of this major up-keep. Planning for this upkeep period has drawn substantially on experience from previous successful upkeeps to ensure that the work is incorporated into the specification from the start thereby de-risking growth in the package. The knowledge and experience gained will contribute to de-risking future upkeeps, most notably on the other two amphibious ships, HMS Albion and Bulwark, and will also help to inform and guide the maintenance strategy for the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Babcock has also introduced a number of improvements and new processes of its own to optimise delivery of this upkeep, including a new organisation structure in the form of zone management to further improve the planning and execution.

The upkeep period is being undertaken in the newly developed 10 Dock facility in Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard, which has seen a significant investment and refurbishment programme to provide a first class facility to service the UK’s amphibious fleet.

Commenting on the upkeep programme on HMS Ocean, Babcock Warship Support Managing Director Mike Whalley said: “This is a substantial refit and noteworthy for its sheer scale, as well as representing an important milestone as the first to be undertaken by the Babcock-led Amphibious COM team. The project will be a highly complex and challenging one, with the team firmly focused on delivering Ocean fully refurbished, with improved capability and performance, safely, on-time, and at optimum value for money.”

The DE&S Surface Ship Alliance Destroyers and Amphibious Platforms Team Leader, Kevin Barry, added: “This is a hugely complex project, both technically and from a project management perspective, and it is testament to the dedication of all those involved that we have successfully reached this stage of the process. There will be some significant challenges ahead but I look forward to this team effort being continued into the implementation phase, and to successful delivery of this highly capable warship back to the Fleet in 2014.”

HMS Ocean is now in dock at Devonport Royal Dockyard, and is expected to leave for sea trials in early 2014.


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