Babcock International Group has started the post-life extension (LIFEX) program for the UK Royal Navy’s Duke-class frigate HMS Argyll.
The firm will carry out the work at the Frigate Support Centre in Devonport, Plymouth.
The vessel is the first Type 23 to undergo the upkeep program, which has adopted “a new innovative approach to re-certification.”
Babcock will overhaul equipment and modify designs for new vessel capabilities such as mixed crewing and communication upgrades.
The firm will also give the Argyll an external make-over, painting its side and outer bottom.
The LIFEX program will prepare the vessel for an early full ship assessment structural survey in just nine weeks.
“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,” HMS Argyll Project Manager Sarah Hilder said.
LIFEX Program for UK Royal Navy Type 23 Vessels
The HMS Argyll is the longest-serving Type 23 frigate in the Royal Navy. It was commissioned in 1991 and was the first vessel supported by the LIFEX program in 2015. It was returned to service in 2017.
Alongside the HMS Argyll, other Type 23 warships are currently being maintained through the life extension initiative.
In 2020, HMS Somerset underwent the LIFEX revamp at the Devonport facility. It was returned to the fleet in 2021 and commenced sea trials earlier this year. Meanwhile, the HMS Iron Duke has recently undocked, while the HMS St. Albans is preparing for ship flooding tests later this month.