BAE to upgrade Royal Navy minesweepers

BAE Systems has been awarded a six-year contract worth £15m to replace propulsion systems on the Royal Navy’s eight Hunt Class minesweepers.

The equipment procurement contract follows the company’s completion of the technical recommendation for a new propulsion and machinery control system for the Ministry of Defence.

BAE Systems’ engineers have proposed a propulsion system using commercial off-the-shelf equipment in order to minimise initial procurement costs and to ensure the availability of spares.

Mark Draper, Hunt re-propulsion project manager at BAE Systems, said: ‘This major upgrade work will be carried out by support engineers at our facilities in Portsmouth.

‘The first new propulsion system is expected to be installed on board HMS Chiddingfold in late 2011, with upgrades to the remaining seven Hunt Class taking place during planned ship docking periods up to 2016.’

The re-propulsion project will involve the installation of new engines, gearboxes, bow thruster systems, propellers and machinery control systems.

BAE Systems has 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.