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Babcock secures contract for second refit of UK’s HMS Victorious submarine.

| Naval News Navy 2024

Babcock announced on March 1, 2024, that it has been awarded a contract by the UK's Submarine Delivery Agency to undertake the second Long Overhaul Period and Refuel (LOP(R)) for HMS Victorious, one of the UK's Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The full-cost recovery contract is valued at approximately EUR 654 million.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001  Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde under the Scottish summer sunshine to conduct continuation training in 2013 (Picture source: United Kingdom MoD )

Work on the submarine has already commenced, following an initial contract in July 2023 authorized by the UK Ministry of Defence to start preparatory work. HMS Victorious is the second of the Royal Navy's four Vanguard-class SSBNs to undergo a life extension package at Babcock's Devonport facility. The lead boat, HMS Vanguard, completed the same LOP(R) process at Devonport in May 2023, after a planned three-year programme ultimately extended over seven years.

All four Vanguard-class SSBNs have previously received their first LOP(R) at Devonport, where a major infrastructure program is ongoing to ensure that the future capability requirements of the Royal Navy and the UK's submarine enterprise can be fully met with state-of-the-art facilities.

The Vanguard-class SSBNs – Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance – are based at HM Naval Base Clyde near Glasgow, Scotland. Armed with Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, they serve as the delivery platforms for the UK's nuclear deterrent.

The Vanguard-class SSBNs will continue to operate into the 2030s when they will be replaced by a new fleet of four Dreadnought-class SSBNs. Babcock has received the contract from the Submarine Delivery Agency to carry out the non-refuelling deep maintenance and life-extension (LIFEX) programme for the Royal Navy's second Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, HMS Victorious.

According to Babcock, the work program on Victorious will involve upgrading more than 90% of the boat's equipment and systems, including the combat management system, and will require approximately 7.2 million personnel hours to complete. The refit will take place across a range of facilities around the Devonport dockyard, with about 2,500 personnel expected to be involved in the overhaul overall.

Meanwhile, the first-of-class Vanguard has completed its much-delayed Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) at Babcock's Devonport facilities in May 2023 and will soon return to operations after successfully concluding its post-refit trials period. Last February, an investigation was launched by the Royal Navy into Babcock's use of superglue to repair cooling pipes on the HMS Vanguard, highlighting the complex challenges associated with maintaining these critical assets.

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