01 Dec 11. HMS Victory, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, is to be returned to her former glory thanks to a 10-year restoration programme, the MOD announced. It will be the most extensive restoration of the 246 year old warship since she was repaired after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 as Lord Nelson’s flagship. The work will begin this month and be undertaken by BAE Systems Surface Ships at Portsmouth Naval base under a £16m contract awarded by the MOD. The restoration will include: the ship’s masts, rigging and bowsprit; replacing side planking and removing decayed timber to replace with hand-fitted teak to maintain the structural integrity and the unique profile of the vessel. The repairs will be carried out by Team Victory which is made up of shipwrights and other specialist staff employed by BAE Systems including traditional shipbuilders, Bell Rigging who are based in London and Gloucester based T Neilson & Company who specialise in traditional wooden shipbuilding skills. The contract has been signed for an initial five years with an option to extend for a further five sustaining a number of jobs at BAE Systems Surface Ships and maintaining traditional ship building skills in the UK.