The first of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers isn’t due to commence trials until 2017 and will not be operational until at least 2018, leaving the slow-moving Ocean as the Royal Navy’s only carrier of any sort… just helicopters, no Harriers… thanks SDR!
Still, BZ to the lads at Babcock’s for their work on Ocean.
Babcock marks key milestone as HMS Ocean undocks
An important milestone was reached today, 31 July, in the major upkeep and upgrade programme being carried out by Babcock on HMS Ocean when the amphibious assault ship (the Royal Navy’s largest ship) came out of dock at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.
This significant milestone, achieved on-schedule after seven months in dock, comes about half way through HMS Ocean’s substantial 15 month upgrade and overhaul programme, which includes more than 60 upgrades, mechanical improvements and an extensive maintenance package. 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.
Today’s undocking marks the completion of the dock-dependent elements, including overhaul of all the ship’s underwater valves, application of the outer bottom foul release paint coating, survey and represervation of tanks, repair of several sea tubes, and maintenance on the ship’s main propulsion system, propellors, shafts, rudders and stabilisers, as well as the overhaul and test of the ship’s mooring capstans, among other work.
Work on HMS Ocean will now continue with the ship alongside. This will include habitability improvements to the crew’s and embarked military forces’ living quarters and refurbishment of the main galley, laundry and commissariat, enhancement of the ship’s fire detection system, and commissioning the main propulsion and auxiliary systems, as well as work on aircraft lifts and weapons equipment. Ship’s staff will move on board in early November, and HMS Ocean is expected to leave Devonport for sea trials in early 2014.
This upkeep is 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. Various approaches and measures are being applied by the COM team to optimise delivery, and achieve significant savings and efficiencies in the planning and execution of this major upkeep.
Babcock Warship Support Managing Director Mike Whalley commented: “This is a highly complex and challenging project both technically and in terms of project management, and we are delighted to have met this significant undocking milestone on schedule, thanks to hard work by all parties. There is still considerable work to be done, and the team will now focus on continuing to maintain this strong progress through the rest of the project, to deliver HMS Ocean safely, on-time, fully refurbished with improved capability and performance, at optimum value for money.”
Kevin Barry, the DE&S Destroyers and Amphibious Platforms Team Leader said: “I am particularly encouraged by the strong team ethos which has been vital to overcoming some significant challenges in getting to this project milestone. The fact that MoD, industry and RN teams are utilising the huge range of skills and experience they possess and working so effectively together is fundamental to delivery of such large and complex projects. We are now focused on successful delivery of this hugely capable and versatile platform back to the Fleet.”
The undocking of HMS Ocean today sees the ship leaving the newly developed 10 Dock facility at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard, which has undergone a significant investment and refurbishment programme to provide a first class facility to service the UK’s amphibious fleet.