Home Europe Royal Navy’s oldest Type 23 first to begin post-life extension refit

Royal Navy’s oldest Type 23 first to begin post-life extension refit

HMS Argyll
Royal Navy file photo of HMS Argyll

UK defense technology company Babcock has begun a post-life extension (LIFEX) procedure on the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll at its Devonport facility.

Argyll is the first Type 23 to undergo a post-LIFEX upkeep, adopting a new approach to re-certification at the facility’s frigate support center (FSC).

Babcock will overhaul equipment and carry out design changes for new capabilities such as communications upgrades and mixed crewing. The Duke-class frigate will also receive a full spray coat of paint the outer bottom and ship side.

“HMS Argyll presents a huge opportunity to demonstrate Babcock working in collaboration with our customer throughout the planning period and by implementing new efficient and innovative processes we are striving to complete the project in a reduced timescale compared to a standard upkeep,” Sarah Hilder, Project Manager for HMS Argyll’s upkeep, said.

Work began immediately with the vessel being prepared for a Lloyds structural survey to achieve an early full ship assessment in just nine weeks.

Argyll began the procedure after returning from a 9-month operational deployment in May 2019, and operating in UK waters since its return. In addition to patrolling UK waters, the ship also supported various trials, including demonstrations of the ability to control autonomous, unmanned Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) through the ship’s combat system.

Commissioned in 1991, HMS Argyll is the longest-serving Type 23 frigate and was the first to undergo upkeep within the LIFEX program in 2015. After she returned to the Royal Navy in 2017 Babcock has continued to deliver the Type 23 life-extension program across the fleet.

Babcock’s recent milestones on the program include HMS Somerset achieving ready for sea date and commencing sea trials earlier this year, HMS Iron Duke recently undocking and HMS St Albans preparing to flood up later this month.