BAE Systems have returned HMS Chiddingfold to the water following what they say has been the most extensive package of work ever carried out to the plastic hulls of any Hunt Class mine countermeasure vessels.

The completion of this phase of her upkeep has been marked with the launch of the inaugural BAE Systems and Royal Navy association programme, which aims to forge close links between the ship, the ship’s company and BAE Systems employees responsible for her upkeep and working across the Maritime Services business.

BAE Systems’ Warship Support Director, Jon Pearson, said:

“HMS Chiddingfold moving out of the ship hall is another great delivery milestone, but the work certainly doesn’t end here. We have a busy Christmas period across the naval base, not least working on the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, following her return home from flying trials in America. We’re also preparing for the first quarter of 2019, which is looking like it will be the busiest period the yard has seen in 10 years.

Our ship association is another way we are working with our customers to show our continued support and commitment to the Royal Navy. We take great pride in getting ships to sea on time and in the right condition to allow the Royal Navy to meet its operational needs.”

At 60m long and 10m wide, the Hunt Class vessels are the largest Glass-Reinforced Plastic vessels in the world and have been in service for over 30 years. All six are base-ported at Portsmouth Naval Base and maintained by BAE Systems teams.

The first phase of HMS Chiddingfold’s upkeep was carried out in the former ship hall facility, which is now the Minor Vessels Centre of Specialisation. It offers engineers 360-degree access to the ship no matter what the weather, cutting down upkeep times and offering the Ministry of Defence better value for money.

Portsmouth Naval Base Commander, Commodore Jim Higham added:

“Congratulations to BAE Systems and everyone in Team Portsmouth in delivering on our promises in loading HMS Chiddingfold out of the ship hall on time. I am so proud of our Team Portsmouth ethos of working with all industry partners, which really is imperative to the fleet and our operational needs.

I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot ship association which I think will provide excellent opportunities for both sides to deepen our understanding of each other.”

HMS Chiddingfold’s upkeep programme included an extensive blasting of her hull, ship’s side and decks to prepare her for repainting. She also received upgrades to many of her systems including firefighting equipment, new fuel tanks, salvage generator and underwater valve replacements.

There were also modifications to the electrical systems, and a new galley was installed so that the crew have better on board facilities.

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captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

They always remind me of “Calypso”.

maurice10
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I’ve always had the notion that the RN never placed too much importance on UK coastal duties since WW2. Admittedly, this is only a perception on my part. I do know that many small ships have been driven out of business due to cutbacks. Some may say the RN’s role is to concentrate on the global picture and equip the navy with appropriately sized vessels, such as frigates and destroyers. However, the future may draw the RN into waters much closer to home if and when Brexit happens? Current activity in the Channel with illegal immigrants and the possibility of… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
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Harry Bulpit

Ever since the 1800 the royal navy has had a issue with littoral combat. Even at the start of ww2 the Royal navy had no costal potrol boats at all.

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

But to be fair, The Royal Navy Have had no real Threats in that area since the early 1800’s. Thanks to Nelson and all the other unsung Heroes of the time. not even during the First World War. So It’s no surprise that we lacked this particular Capability really. We Did have a relatively Enormous amount of other ships to call on though, Unlike Today. 7 River class ( not all in UK Waters) can’t really cover the entire UK Coast or Zones in times of war but It’s better than Nothing until said times of war come along again.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

Never mind that the Rivers are too large to do all tasks too. And as a daughter boat to work in support of littoral patrol operations in north west Europeans the Pacific 24 less than optimal ( though adequate in its designated role as sea boat and harbour patrol). Before this is over we will have to use all the Hunt’s and Archer’s.

We are sadly under equipped for the inshore security role.

Cam hunter
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Cam hunter

8 river class ships mate.

Lusty
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Technically speaking four in commission (Severn is still awaiting reactivation), but yes, eight in the coming months and years. It’s also worth noting that the batch one ships will be forward based in their respective rivers – areas which already have a RNR presence. I believe the plan is to use this for the manpower issue. It would be interesting to see what state Atherstone and Quorn are in. Could they be recommissioned as additional patrol vessels as an interim? I think we’d all agree that the OPV fleet being doubled is a fantastic achievement (the older vessels being decommissioned… Read more »

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

Yes, I meant to say 8 but put 7 as one seems to be permanently based in the FI’s.

Cam Hunter
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Cam Hunter

Oh and all mine counter ships have a secondary patrol roll aswell so 13 of them, or maybe soon to be 12.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

In previous years Hunt MCMV used to do fishery protection duties. 4 of them where allocated to the role.
Fridays fish dinner was always the best when doing that tasking.

Lusty
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What, a ship entered the Minor Vessels Centre of Specialisation and left? She should feel lucky.

Atherstone and Quorn, I’m looking at you.

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

Quorn Is just so Tasteless , In my Opinion.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

It’s a meat free brand too. ?

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

Lol, I’ve just been reading about a proposed Meat Tax, one Caroline Lucas (Green Party) ( Fancy Education) wants to Tax all Meat Eaters in the UK to reduce World Wide Carbon Emissions. Reckon she needs to go Preach It Elsewhere personally, Starting with 1.3 Billion Chinese would be better oh and Whilst She’s there, maybe she can Ask them to stop building Thousands of Coal Fired Power Stations and Flooding the World with Plastic Crap. I’m loving the well educated, Vegans at the moment. not.

Airborne
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Airborne

To reduce carbon emissions her and her green MPs need to stop bumping their gums about absolute chuff! Hey Cap P you know its Vegan January as well? Gen up!

Lusty
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Never even tried it. I sympathize with some of the green movement (particularly plastic pollution as I see its effects daily), but Quorn, pfft. That’s going nowhere near my mouth. I bet you if we did a little research, we’d find Caroline Lucas got on a big plane to fly to some faraway land, ate quorn imported from the farthest corner of Russia with disposable cutlery, and brushed her teeth with microbead filled toothpaste as part of the ‘green conferences’ that they go too. I.E, stand and get your photo taken and achieve nothing. Strange how they always fly to… Read more »

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

“Short Sighted hypocrites the lot of you” lol. he’s back !!!

Darren
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Darren

Yep. BAE (with the government) certainly got their own way in this fix-up of VT’s shipyard. Waste of the block and Hull Assembly Hall. Heaven knows what they are using the Unit Assembly Hall for and I have no doubt that the steel production shop was asset stripped before the new interests had finished talking to whoever. That said, the Hunts are said to have a long hull life, are good for 17 or so knots. They were not the cheapest ships for their type back in the day though. BAE was already doing this work elsewhere in Portsmouth albeit,… Read more »

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

A lot of that work was done in the Lowden complex in Rosyth in previous years. A syncro lift and 3 covered sheds for MCMVs.
Now BAe has re-roled the Construction hall and need what is basically a jackable barge platform to get the vessel in and out.

Airborne
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Airborne

Ah excellent, the SNP Defence secretary is back. Good to hear from you, did you have a good hogmoneeeeee or whatever you call it? Did you get that SNP Calendar for your “happy holidays”? Missed your child like ranting’s and froth. Have you washed those crusty track suit trousers yet? Keep bleating about subject matter beyond your capability and we will keep reading and laughing, thanks for your input. Cheers.