Britain’s biggest warship is coming back to life as HMS Ocean nears the end of a 15-month £65m revamp.
Life is being breathed into Britain’s biggest warship as helicopter carrier HMS Ocean gets ready to emerge from a 15-month revamp.
The Mighty O has been out of action since late 2012, undergoing a £65m overhaul in her home base of Devonport.
As 2014 begins, so sailors have begun to re-join Ocean in earnest, not least her new Commanding Officer Capt Tim Henry, who’ll guide ship and ship’s company through the final weeks of the refit – and a demanding remainder of the year.
By the end of 2014, Ocean will be the UK’s sole on-call helicopter carrier; veteran HMS Illustrious, which has performed the duty while the Mighty O has been going through her revamp, is due to pay off after more than 30 years’ proud service in the late autumn.
HMS Ocean has received more than 60 upgrades and improvements from a complete refurbishment of her flight deck, hangar and aviation facilities to an overhaul of much of her mechanical and engineering equipment, and replacement or refurbishment of many of her communications and weapons systems.
In dry dock, Ocean’s hull received a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint, and her engines, propellers, shafts, rudders and stabilisers were all been given a thorough going over before the waters lapped around the ship once more and she was moved out of dock.
The scale of the work carried out on her has been described by defence firm Babcock as the equivalent of overhauling three Type 23 frigates.
The refit and trials are due to be complete by the summer, when the task will move to the intensive training of her ship’s company to regain their operational status and capability, which reaches its climax with two months of Operational Sea Training under the supervision of the Flag Officer Sea Training’s organisation.
Press Release, January 16, 2014