Monday, September 20, 2010
HMS Argyll is Ready For Sea
17 September 2010 -- The Royal Navy Frigate HMS Argyll has returned to sea after a year long £20 Million upgrade. The refit project, which began in September 2009 in Rosyth Dockyard on the Firth of Forth, was undertaken by Babcock Marine. After 12 months of expert engineering work the Plymouth-based Warship passed her Ready for Sea Date Inspection with flying colours on Friday 10 Sep 2010. The upgrade has turned the Type 23 Frigate into the most potent and relevant fighting unit of its kind and a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
As the oldest of the Type 23 Frigates still in service, Argyll is the first in class to reach her second major upgrade. Originally destined for this refit 2 years earlier, she missed out on many of the operational upgrades given to her sister ships. Therefore when she finally entered Rosyth last year she was very much in need of some TLC.
With upgrades to her central tactical computer, her administrative computer system and her satellite communications Argyll has moved firmly into the 21st century. Many of her weapon systems have also been replaced or improved. This includes her short range missile system Sea Wolf, her 4.5” Gun which is sporting a new angular turret (otherwise known as Kryten’s Head in honour of the Red Dwarf character) and her new automated small calibre cannons. From a structural perspective large sections of the hull have been replaced and her wooden flight deck has been removed to be replaced by a new composite material deck. Internally Argyll has been the recipient of 3 new engines, her living quarters have undergone a facelift to improve habitability and all of this is now protected by a new fire and flood monitoring system. The entire package has guaranteed many more years of useful life for the Ship enabling her to successfully support the wide spectrum of British Defence Policy.
Upon entering her Refit period in Rosyth, Argyll lost much of her manpower leaving a core of 28 key personnel drawn mostly from the Engineering and Logistics departments. As well as working in partnership with Babcock to create the most effective fighting ship in the RN, the reduced Ship’s Company integrated themselves very much into the Dockyard, HMS Caledonia (the local Naval Base) and the local community. Personnel represented their Ship in Perth during the Armed Forces Day celebrations in June, assisted the organisers of the Highland Games at Inverary Castle and gave their all under the banner of HMS Caledonia during the Field Gun competition in HMS Collingwood in July.
Not only have the systems of HMS Argyll received an major overhaul, she is now home to 177 sailors, most of whom have joined in the latter stages of the refit period. It has been a challenging time for those recent joiners as the pace of life has seen the Ship’s Company working long hours to guarantee the Ship is ready in all respects to return to sea. It is largely thanks to their enthusiasm, determination and teamwork, in conjunction with Babcock, that the Ship can boast the accolade of the only ship to hit every key date set for it so far. Those same traits have been exhibited in spades during the Initial Sea Safety Training the Ship has undergone immediately after Ready for Sea Date. Passing as safe in all respects the various incidents such as fires, floods, machinery breakdowns and man overboard exercises Argyll and her crew have already garnered a strong reputation for themselves.
Looking ahead, this is just the beginning of a long period of sea trials before the Ship can return to full operational effectiveness and be welcomed back into the Fleet. However the Ship’s Company is in a buoyant mood after such resounding successes to date and is very much looking forward to returning to their home port of Plymouth and being further put through their paces.
Of the achievements to date Commanding Officer Cdr Paul Stroude said:
I am delighted with the outcome of our refit period in Rosyth. Babcock Marine have done us proud in delivering a high quality work package on time, and the Ship’s Company have worked and trained exceptionally hard to prepare themselves and their Ship for sea. The Ship’s structure has been fully refurbished and preserved, and our weapons and sensors dramatically enhanced to ensure that HMS Argyll will remain a relevant, flexible and potent fighting force, able to support and protect UK interests worldwide, for many years to come.