11 Feb 10. HMS NOTTINGHAM: Decommissioning. The Decommissioning Service for HMS NOTTINGHAM is to take place in HM Naval Base, Portsmouth on 11 Feb 10. The ship officially leaves the Fleet on 1 Mar 10.
Comment: HMS NOTTINGHAM has been alongside in Portsmouth since April 2008, in a state of reduced readiness. During the past few months the ship has mainly been used as a training platform. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/06, 08 Feb 10)
03 Feb 10. HMS ILLUSTRIOUS: Maintenance Period. The MoD noted (3 Feb 10) that HMS ILLUSTRIOUS has arrived in Scotland for a £40m maintenance and upgrade programme, which will be carried out at Rosyth Dockyard. The work is due to start in March 2010 and to last until August 2011.
Comment: The MoD notification said that HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was to undergo essential maintenance “to ensure the carrier can continue in service until the second new carrier, HMS PRINCE OF WALES, is in service….”. The most recently published out-of-service date for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS is 2016 whereas HMS PRINCE OF WALES is not now expected to enter service until 2018!
01 Feb 10. Sandown Class Minehunters: To Remain at Faslane. The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (1 Feb 10) that the eight Sandown Class Minehunters are the only conventional surface ships based at Faslane. There are “no plans to change this arrangement or to make any changes to the Sandown Class other than the withdrawal from service of HMS WALNEY later this year”.
Comment: On 5 Jan 10 the Minister said that HMS WALNEY is planned to be withdrawn from service in April 2010. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/06, 08 Feb 10)
05 Feb 10. Gulf of Aden: OP OCEAN SHIELD. HMS CHATHAM has relieved sister-ship HMS CORNWALL in the Gulf of Aden; to take part in NATO’s counter-piracy mission OP OCEAN SHIELD. The other ships in Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1)are: HDMS ABSALON (Danish Navy Flagship), HMCS FREDERICTON (Canadian Navy) and USS BOONE (US Navy).
Comment: HDMS ABSALON rescued (5 Feb 10) the cargo ship MV Ariella which had been boarded by pirates. The Russian frigate NEUSTRASHIMY was operating nearby and her sailors boarded and detained a second pirate skiff. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/06, 08 Feb 10)
09 Feb 10. Nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) HMS Tireless sailed from Devonport on Saturday (6 February), following a substantial 18 month Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) and life extension, successfully completed ahead of schedule by Babcock. HMS Tireless’ departure follows the docking of HMS Trenchant earlier in the month for a major RAMP that will include significant capability upgrades. The extensive 320,000 manhour RAMP in HMS Tireless (twice the manhours of a usual RAMP) has encompassed significant life extension work, and has included a shaft change, installation of a trial outboard sonar fit, steam generator in-service inspections, and reactor system inspections and maintenance, as well as several combat system capability updates and substantial structural and mechanical system survey, maintenance and repair work. Particular challenges included the development of in-service inspection equipment and procedures in support of reactor system integrity checks. This required close working between Babcock, MoD and Rolls Royce to minimise programme impact and provide a capability that is now deployable on other submarines. Joint Babcock/MoD initiatives contributed to the successful completion of this RAMP, including ensuring early definition of the work specification which enabled significant pre-planning to be undertaken and close working between Babcock, ship’s staff and the MoD during the project.
08 Feb 10. HMS Illustrious arrived at Rosyth today in preparation for a 13 month docking period to start next month, in a £40 million contract awarded under the Surface Ship Support Alliance (the alliance between the MoD, Babcock and BAE Systems). This is