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Upgrade for Royal Navy Minehunters powers ahead

HMS Middleton and HMS Chiddingfold
BAE Systems has secured a £15 million contract as part of a major overhaul project to replace the 30 year old propulsion systems onboard the Royal Navy’s eight Hunt Class mine countermeasure vessels.

The equipment procurement contract comes on the back of the Company’s successful completion of the technical recommendation for a new propulsion and machinery control system to the Ministry of Defence. Reflecting BAE Systems’ commitment to help drive down operational costs and maximise availability of the fleet, its engineers have proposed a  modern, reliable and supportable, propulsion system using commercial off the shelf equipment. This will not only minimise initial procurement costs, but will also ensure spares are readily available for future repair and maintenance work.

John Walton, Mine Warfare Marine Engineering Manager, for Defence Equipment and Support, said: “Lower through life costs and better reliability of the minehunters is essential to enable the Royal Navy to carry out its operational commitments, which includes protecting valuable shipping lanes.

“The design of the new propulsion and machinery control system will reduce the upkeep maintenance load on the ship’s staff and increase availability of the vessel for operational duties. It also takes significantly less space and the layout makes it more accessible, providing better working conditions for Royal Navy engineers carrying out maintenance and repairs, often in difficult climatic conditions.”

Mark Draper, Hunt Re-Propulsion Project Manager at BAE Systems, added: “This major
upgrade work will be carried out over the next six years by support engineers at our facilities in Portsmouth.

“The first new propulsion system is expected to be installed onboard HMS Chiddingfold in late 2011, with upgrades to the remaining seven Hunt Class taking place during planned ship docking periods up to 2016, in order to maximise efficiency and avoid disruption to availability of the fleet.”

Customer support and services activity accounts for a significant and growing part of BAE Systems’ business worldwide. In October 2009, the Company was appointed Class Output Manager for the Royal Navy’s Hunt Class vessels, which means that it acts as a single point of contact responsible for all repair, maintenance and upgrades for the Hunt Class. The re-propulsion project is the first major upgrade to be initiated under the Class Output Management approach and will involve the installation of new engines, gearboxes, bow thruster systems, propellers and machinery control systems to significantly improve operational availability and reliability of the ships.

BAE Systems has already down selected Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine to provide the Machinery Control Alarm and Surveillance Systems, Finning UK to supply the engines, gearboxes and bow thrusters, and Stone Marine Propulsion to provide the Propellers for the ships.

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services.  In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).

Issued by:

BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739
www.baesystems.com

Ref: 259/2010