12 Oct 11. Chile: Type 23 Frigate Upgrade. BAE Systems announced (12 Oct 11) that it has signed a £3.3m contract with the Chilean Navy to upgrade a radar sub-system of the Type 911 tracker on the Chilean Type 23 frigates. The upgrade forms part of the Company’s commitment to support and work with the Chilean Navy to maintain the frigates.
Comment: On 24 Oct 06, BAE Systems announced that the Company had agreed to co-operate with ASMAR Shipbuilding and Shiprepairing in support of the Chilean Navy. The agreement covers the three Type 23s transferred (HMS NORFOLK as ALMIRANTE COCHRANE, HMS GRAFTON as ALMIRANTE LYNCH and HMS MARLBOROUGH as ALMIRANTE CONDELL) as well as the Type 22 which had already been transferred (HMS SHEFFIELD as ALMIRANTE WILLIAMS).
[ASMAR: Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/40, 17 Oct 11)
14 Oct 11. The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond begins an extensive £20m refit at Devonport dockyard, which includes installing the £4m Seawolf missile system. The Seawolf short range ship defence missile system is a £300M upgrade programme being rolled out across the fleet of Type 23 frigates and is designed to combat the increasing threat of faster, lower flying and more maneuverable missiles. This system can track a target the size of a cricket ball at twice the speed of sound from over 20 miles away and launch two missiles to destroy it. The MOD signed the contract for the refit in September with Babcock and the work will be carried out at their Devonport facility. The work is expected to last until next spring, with the ship due to return to the Fleet in the summer following sea trials. In addition to routine maintenance work, the refit contract includes a number of upgrades to better equip the vessel for her worldwide roles. These include installation of a new £800K command system that will be more cost effective to maintain and is compatible with other new ships entering service. A new ‘brain’ of the ship’s weapons systems and upgraded communications systems are also being installed across the Type 23 Frigate Force to enhance operational capability and interoperability for the future. An upgrade to the 30 mm automatic guns is also being carried out to extend their effective range and accuracy.
17 Oct 11. Babcock completes Type 23 refit on-time, in-budget. Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland has left Devonport Royal Dockyard to start sea trials, following a successful support period (Standard Support Period Docking, or SSP(D)) by Babcock, completed on-time and in-budget, which has significantly increased the ship’s sustainability and fighting capability. The refit has been challenging with a complex programme of work (including 13 upgrades) undertaken within a tightly scheduled nine month period. It has benefited significantly from Babcock’s experience gained from previous Type 23 docking periods, and from the close and effective partnering relationship between Babcock, the MoD, and ship’s staff. This has enabled the programme to be undertaken with maximum efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety, to deliver optimum value for money. HMS Northumberland leaves Devonport with a number of upgrades and improvements. These include the new DNA(2) Command System (central to the ship’s capability against air, surface and underwater threats); installation of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)); the SeaWolf mid-life update (SWMLU) comprising tracking, guidance and weapon management upgrades to counter evolving anti-ship missile threats; the new automatic small calibre gun; NATO radial filters to protect fresh air supplies; and a new sophisticated digital incident detection system; as well as service area improvements including a galley equipment upgrade, and a number of mechanical upgrades. The docking period has also encompassed a full programme of deep maintenance. In total the 250,000 manhour SSP(D) has involved the