In March 2014 the MoD admitted there was a minor concern about the integrity of the nuclear reactors which power Vanguard class submarines. As a precaution, HMS Vanguard currently in refit at Devonport has been given a second new reactor core. This week the government quietly announced that technical assessments have now concluded this procedure will not be necessary for the other three boats. More
Unable to follow up their success building OPVs for export, and with no other orders forthcoming, last week Babcock made the sad announcement that the Appledore shipyard will close in March 2019. Here we examine the background and potential impacts of this decision.
Originally designed with a service life of around 18 years, the RN’s Type 23 Frigates will now have to serve for around 30 years. All 13 frigates are undergoing life extension (LIFEX) refits and an important component of these upgrades is the Power Generation Machinery Upgrade (PGMU) to replace the ships’ four diesel generator sets.
On 6th June, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard opened a Westminster Hall Parliamentary debate on the base-porting of Type 26 frigates. A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Devonport and the MoD is under pressure to make an early decision on the basing arrangements for the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates.
Today Babcock unveiled the Arrowhead 140, a revised design as their candidate for the Type 31e frigate competition. This new concept reduces some of the potential programme risks as it is based on the Iver Huitfeldt hull form, currently in-service with the Royal Danish Navy.More
There are currently 20 former Royal Navy nuclear submarines awaiting disposal in Rosyth and Devonport. They do not represent a great hazard but maintaining them safely while they await dismantling is a growing drain on the defence budget. Nuclear submarines are arguably Britain’s most important defence assets but the failure to promptly deal with their legacy has been a national scandal. Although there has been discussion and consultation going back years, only recently has there been action to actually start the disposal process.
There are strong indications that the RN is going to be forced to axe HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark and cut between 1,000 – 1,500 Royal Marines. There are even suggestions that some of the Type 23 frigates maybe decommissioned early. The loss of these assets, together with the planned disposal of HMS Ocean casts a long shadow over Plymouth and the future of Devonport Naval Base.More
The RN published its outline specification for the Type 31e on 7th September this year. The £250 Million-per-ship price cap that has been set for the project is remarkable. If the project can deliver a credible ship at this price it would be something of a miracle and represent the most affordable western frigate design on the international market. The goals of Type 31e can therefore either be seen as ambitious ‘blue sky thinking’ or compromised and unachievable.More
In response to the MoD’s invitation, industry across the UK is now working on a variety of proposals to win the Royal Navy’s Type 31e frigate design and build contract. If the project succeeds in its goal of achieving export orders, the winning consortium could see a sustained flow of construction work and competition is intensifying.More