A year-long upgrade for Portsmouth-based minehunter HMS Chiddingfold has reached a major milestone. The ship has just been fitted with two new engines, replacing her old Rolls-Royce Deltics which have been used in the Royal Navy’s minor war vessels for decades.
The work is part of a major mid-life upgrade to the Navy’s eight Hunt-class minehunters being carried out by BAE Systems in Portsmouth. The programme will enhance and significantly extend the lives of the eight ships, maintaining their position as some of the most capable mine countermeasures vessels in the world.
Work on Chiddingfold started in January with the removal of two sections of deck to allow access to the bowels of the ship. With the engine room fully prepared for the new Caterpillar C32 Acert engines they were carefully craned into the ship and onto their new mounts.
Lieutenant Peter Davis, the ship’s executive officer, said: “It is very exciting for us to see the new engines being put into Chiddingfold after months of preparation. She is the first of the re-engined Hunt-class minehunters and we are looking forward to putting this new system through its paces later this year to find out exactly how the ship will perform.”
Mark Draper, BAE Systems Project Manager for the Hunt Re-propulsion programme said, “as well as replacing engines the work also included fitting new gearboxes and propellers and an upgrade to the hydraulic bow thruster system. Chiddingfold is the first of class for this project and we are learning a lot. The engine installation is a real milestone. The team is working hard and know there is a lot left to complete this challenging programme,”
Source: royalnavy, March 13, 2012