HMS Vigilant SSBN in for GBP 300M Refit
Britain’s 16,000t Vanguard Class nuclear missile submarine HMS Vigilant (S30) has been moved into Plymouth for a GBP 300 million (currently $422 million) overhaul that will take about 42 months to complete. At it’s peak, it’s expected to sustain 1,000 dockyard jobs, and another 1,000 jobs across industry.
That’s a long time, and a lot of people, but adding a new nuclear reactor core is no simple task. The new core is derived from the design used in Britain’s Astute Class fast attack submarines, and it will never need refueling again. This is a trend in modern naval nuclear power plants; America’s Seawolf ad Virginia Class fast attack submarines, and its forthcoming Gerald R. Ford Class carriers, also have new reactor designs that eliminate costly mid-life refueling.
Babcock’s work will go beyond the reactor swap-out, to include improvements to the accommodation and mess (kitchen/dining) areas, and revalidation of the submarine’s safety systems. HMS Vigilant is expected to return to the fleet in 2012. UK MoD | Babcock International.