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08 Jan 21. The SSBN Le Terrible transferred from the Île Longue to the Brest naval base for its major refit. The ballistic nuclear submarine (SSBN) Le Terrible has arrived in dock 8 of the Brest naval base to continue its Full Cycle Docking (FCD), otherwise known as a major refit. This will be the first FCD for Le Terrible and will involve 14 months of industrial activities to modernise the ship and restore its operational potential for the coming 10 years.

The submarine’s FCD work began on the operational base of l’Ile Longue with two major preparatory operations: the removal of weapons and the fuel elements from the nuclear reactor. The SSBN will now undergo major maintenance and modernisation works in dock 8 on the Brest naval base in order to restore its operational potential for the coming 10 years.

As the project’s prime contractor, Naval Group has been officially responsible since the beginning of November 2020. The SSF (Fleet Support Service) has ownership and is responsible for maintaining the French navy’s fleet in operational condition.

The main works to be carried out are maintenance of the hull and its structures, energy and propulsion, diving safety, the platform control and operation systems, utilities associated with life on board, detection and fight against threats and the deterrent weapon system (SAD).

In addition, 300 modifications will be made to various installations in order to improve the SSBN’s control and performances.  These works will last for around 14 months and the submarine will then return to its operational base to reload the reactor core, start up the installations and carry out sea trials before returning to its operational cycle.

2.5 million hours of work

The FCD of SSBN Le Terrible represents a major project with high economic impact and requires a sharp ramp-up in manpower. Over 900 people will be working at the dock during peak periods, in three 8-hour shifts, six days a week.

In addition to the Naval Group teams from the sites of Brest, Ruelle, Indret and Ollioules (near to Toulon), the prime contractor also oversees the activities of around 45 companies in the Brest region and the Grand-Ouest area of France in order to collectively provide the 2.5 million hours of work that are needed for this operation.

Maintain and modernise one of the most complex products in the world

Over and above the full maintenance work that is carried out every 10 years, these ballistic nuclear submarines are among the most complex products in the world, with their size (138 metres and 12,500 tons), their on-board technologies, at the cutting edge of scientific innovations, and the constraints relating to their use during operations.

As the sole designer and constructor of the French ballistic nuclear submarines, Naval Group has continuously ensured the maintenance and modernisation of submarines based at l’Ile Longue on the Crozon peninsula for over 45 years.

The challenge for Naval Group is to ensure, through the quality of maintenance carried out on these submarines, that the French navy can guarantee the “permanence at sea” of French SSBNs, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

06 Jan 21. Babcock secures agreement with Defence Equipment & Support for the Asset Availability Service. Babcock International, the Aerospace and Defence Company, has secured an agreement with Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support for the Asset Availability Service (AAS), encompassing the support and maintenance of the Domestic Equipment fitted to Royal Navy (RN) ships and submarines. The new around £18m contract provides a 10-year support mechanism for the provision of support to Domestics Master Equipment fitted to RN In-Service ships and submarines. The contract allows for the future inclusion of New To Service and New Build Vessels into its scope at the appropriate time, with the aim of all Domestics Master Equipment support being provided by a single delivery team thereafter – a ‘one stop shop’. The work will support the availability and reliability of Galley, Laundry and Calorifier equipment on-board the RN fleet, helping ensure they are ready to deploy anywhere in the world.

“We are extremely pleased to have secured this award” said Richard Drake, Managing Director, of Babcock’s Defence Systems Technology business. “The Babcock team has played a vital role in maintaining Domestic Assets for our customer over the last 15 years, and we are delighted that this agreement has not only continued but grown.

“We will be working with supplier partners over the course of the programme, and it is fantastic that this agreement builds on our previous contract whilst supporting the wider UK supply chain. We are very much looking forward to continuing to deliver a high standard of service to our customer over the next ten years.” Babcock will collaborate with multiple stakeholders to deliver the programme, which includes the installation of new assets, and the refurbishment of currently fitted in-service assets.

07 Jan 21. DSM and Clariter partner to pursue chemical recycling solution for Dyneema®-based end-products. Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, and Clariter, an international clean-tech company, today announced a strategic partnership to pursue a next-generation chemical recycling solution for products based on DSM’s Dyneema®, an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber. As a first step, sample products – including ropes, nets, and ballistic materials made with Dyneema® – were successfully converted at Clariter’s pilot plant in Poland, demonstrating the recyclability potential of Dyneema® and underlining the active commitment of DSM Protective Materials to shape a more sustainable world.

In line with its ambitious sustainability targets, and following the successful launch of bio-based Dyneema® (mass balance), DSM Protective Materials is actively pursuing reuse and recycling solutions for end-of-life Dyneema®-based products. To drive technical recycling solutions, DSM Protective Materials and Clariter partnered to test the feasibility of using Dyneema® as a feedstock in Clariter’s chemical recycling process. Sample products made with Dyneema® were used in Clariter’s tests at its pilot plant in Poland. The positive results confirm the technical viability of transforming Dyneema®-based end-products into high-value, industrial grade, product families: oils, waxes, and solvents via Clariter’s patented 3-step chemical recycling process. These can be further used as ingredients to manufacture new end- and consumer products.

Moving forward, DSM Protective Materials and Clariter will continue to drive this initiative to shape a more sustainable world. Specifically, building on the success of the lab-scale trial, Clariter has scheduled commercial-scale trials at its facility in South Africa for 2021, with the aim to use Dyneema®-derived feedstock in its full-scale European plants that will be built in the coming years. In addition, DSM will continue to actively explore the possibilities of reducing the environmental impact of Dyneema® across all product life stages.

Petra Koselka, Clariter Chief Operations Officer, said: “To stretch and explore boundaries of the next circular solution requires courage, foresight, and tenacity, which DSM has demonstrated with abundance. Looking at the logistics challenge to collect many tons of used marine ropes, nets, and ballistic materials is daunting. However, when an economical route presents itself, suddenly the next horizon seems within reach. We are pleased to work with DSM to perform R&D on what we have dubbed ‘exciting exotics’, and plan to use it as part of our raw materials in the full-scale plants we will build in Europe.”

Roeland Polet, President DSM Protective Materials, said: “Following our successful efforts to introduce bio-based Dyneema® (mass balance), these results mark the next important step on the circularity journey of DSM Protective Materials. Recyclability is key to us, our customers, and society at large and achieving it requires cross-value chain efforts. To this end, we’re looking forward to continue building our partnership with Clariter, and to continue using our science-based capabilities to deliver on our purpose of creating brighter lives for all.”

06 Jan 21. Upgraded Northern Fleet Akula moves out of repair hall. A long-delayed project to upgrade Russian Northern Fleet Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) appears to be building momentum after a second boat was moved out of an upgrade hall.

Video imagery of the Project 971I Schuka-B (Improved Akula)-class submarine Leopard being moved on a lift out of the Zvezdochka Ship Repair Centre facility at Severodvinsk shipyard after a rededication ceremony was posted online by the Russian Ministry of Defence’s Zvezda television channel on 26 December 2020. The Russian state news agency TASS also reported the event, saying it occurred on 25 December. (Source: Jane’s)

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