HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s largest warship which played a starring role during the London 2012 Olympics, will receive a £65M upgrade, the MoD announced today.
Work on the helicopter carrier, which was moored on the Thames during the Games and provided essential security support and a home for hundreds of military personnel responsible for venue security, will secure more than 600 UK jobs.
Her upgrade will be carried out at Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth and will be the largest upkeep programme of its kind to be carried out at the docks in more than 20 years.
The contract has been awarded to UK maritime support specialists Babcock, securing 300 jobs in Devonport. More than 70 contractors are also set to be involved in the project securing a further 300 jobs across the UK.
During the refit, which is expected to last 15 months, upgrades and improvements will be made to her radar, gun, command system and living quarters. Around 1,200 metres of new pipe work will be laid and around 100,000 litres of paint will be applied to HMS Ocean.
Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:
“HMS Ocean plays a crucial role supporting operations as we saw during the Olympics and the Libya campaign and it is essential that we continue to invest in the upkeep of this formidable vessel.
“I am delighted that this contract will not only ensure that HMS Ocean remains a significant, highly-flexible, and capable warship for years to come, but will also secure hundreds of jobs within the UK.”
Vice Admiral Andrew Mathews, Chief of Materiel (Fleet) for the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said:
“Since entering service HMS Ocean has delivered comprehensive support to countless military operations as well as humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
“This extensive refit programme is essential in ensuring that this magnificent ship is able to continue in her role supporting and protecting the UK’s interests across the globe.”
HMS Ocean played an integral role in the Libya campaign launching Apache attack helicopters from her deck to attack Libyan ground defences, the first time Apaches had been launched from a Royal Navy warship.