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Thursday, March 11, 2010

N-sub takes the plunge after refit

A NUCLEAR-powered submarine is back at sea following a major £300million refit at Devonport Dockyard.

HMS Triumph has sailed from her home port of Plymouth for trials to test improvements made during the six-year refit.

More than 1,000 specialists from Babcock, which operates the dockyard, and other contractors worked on the submarine totalling 2.75 million man-hours.

The refit work has seen her reactor refuelled and her weapons systems updated.

Captain Mike Robinson, the Superintendent Submarines for Devonport, said: "HMS Triumph sails for sea trials with significant safety and capability improvements, equipping her to provide a substantial contribution to defence during her second commission.

"The next few months will see HMS Triumph conduct extensive tests at sea ensuring that the modifications made to her propulsion and command systems withstand the demanding environment at sea both surfaced and dived.

"Following her planned acceptance back into the Royal Navy fleet later this year, her crew will then also be tested with the rigours of operational sea training."

The work – the last Trafalgar class submarine refit and refuel to be undertaken – was carried out in partnership with the Royal Navy's major contractor, and naval base neighbour, Babcock.

The company's Submarine Operations Director (Devonport), Gavin Leckie, said: "The quality of HMS Triumph as she leaves for sea trials, and timely completion of this extensive refit, is testament to the skill, dedication, and close teamwork by all involved, and the clear leadership from the Defence Equipment and Supplies agency project contract manager, Babcock project manager and the submarine's commanding officer."

Capability improvements on HMS Triumph have also included installation of the latest sonar systems, and an upgrade for Tomahawk land attack cruise missile systems.

A new command and control system has been installed, as well as a new internal fibre optic computer systems network and enhanced satellite communications system.

An additional ballast pump has been fitted to aid rapid de-ballasting and a number of safety improvements added to fire-fighting and escape capabilities.

HMS Triumph will now undergo a three-month programme of sea trials before returning to the Royal Navy's operational fleet for on-going duties.