Babcock takes charge of Type 23 frigate refit, boosting Royal Navy operational capabilities

By Defence Industry Europe

Babcock International has secured a pivotal contract to manage the Type 23 frigate Refit Support Group, heralding a new era of streamlined vessel maintenance and regeneration. This arrangement allows the company to assume end-to-end responsibility for these critical tasks, previously a collaborative effort with the Royal Navy-led Refit Support Group over the past five years.


This strategic move is set to enhance the operational availability of the Type 23 frigates by allowing 40 of Babcock’s engineers and managers at the Devonport facility to directly handle routine maintenance, emergent defect resolution, and contracted upkeep projects. The reorganization not only improves maintenance efficiency but also frees up Royal Navy personnel to focus on frontline duties, thereby bolstering the UK’s naval readiness.


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Captain Dan Peskett of the Royal Navy, the Type 23 Strategic Class Authority in Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), emphasized the benefits of this evolved approach: “This new approach demonstrates the continued evolution of the Type 23 Refit Support Group and recognises Babcock as our trusted partner for deep maintenance. It also provides the opportunity for seamless integration between Ship’s Staff roles and upkeep delivery driving improved schedule adherence and risk mitigation.”



The transition has already shown promising results, with the HMS St Albans returning to sea three months ahead of schedule, a testament to the improved management and operational efficiency under Babcock’s oversight. Martin Burns, Babcock’s Marine Support Technical Director, expressed confidence in the new setup: “Our team has delivered Refit Support Group full operating capability to plan, building on our long-standing Type 23 frigate support capability. This innovation, in collaboration with our Royal Navy and DE&S customers, is a great step towards de-risking Type 23 upkeep programme delivery, as demonstrated with St Albans, enabling our thorough understanding and control of material state during upkeep as well as releasing Royal Navy personnel to support fleet operational priorities.”


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Babcock’s new role in managing the Type 23 frigates’ upkeep marks a significant advancement in military naval support, promising increased efficiency and operational availability for the Royal Navy’s critical assets.



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