Babcock has been awarded a 10-year contract to provide dry-dock maintenance for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth class (QEC) aircraft carriers. The new £30m (AUD$52m) contract follows a previous maintenance period where Babcock completed the first docking for HMS Queen Elizabeth at the Rosyth site in 2019 and includes all routine maintenance and repairs that cannot be done when the vessel is afloat. In addition to the scheduled dockings, Babcock will provide facilities for any contingency dockings required over the 10-year contract duration while sustaining and supporting 300 jobs.
This is a significant milestone for big ship dockings at Rosyth, which was the integration site for the UK carrier build and assembly programme from 2008 to 2019. Babcock has invested more than £100m (AUD$177M) in skills, digitisation and site infrastructure over recent years at Rosyth. This is now one of the UK’s most modern, capable and competitive manufacturing and repair facilities for large scale marine and energy programmes, with a circa 2000-strong workforce.
Alongside traditional maintenance practices, the ships’ docking period will further benefit from the digital transformation underway at the Rosyth site, which is already in place to support the build and assembly of the Royal Navy’s new Arrowhead Type 31 Inspiration Class frigates. With an expected service life of up to 50 years, the aircraft carriers are highly versatile and potent joint defence assets, able to meet the widest range of tasks around the world. They are the most capable and powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK.
As a key partner in the UK’s Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Babcock optimised countrywide facilities and a wealth of specialised knowledge and experience to deliver the detailed design and whole ship assembly for the QEC programme from her keel to mast, ensuring this remains one of Babcock’s flagship programmes.
Sean Donaldson, Babcock’s Managing Director of Marine Engineering and Systems and the Rosyth site, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to provide dry dockings for the aircraft carriers over the next decade. The investments in our Rosyth infrastructure and facilities over the last 10-years mean we are ideally placed to deliver projects of this size and scale. The programme will also benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of Babcock’s skilled workforce which is steeped in carrier experience. It’s a really proud moment for us.”
Babcock Australasia CEO David Ruff said: “This contract is another demonstration of the trust that the world’s leading navies – including the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, as well as the Royal Navy – have in Babcock sustaining their warship and submarine fleets. This experience means that we bring technologies, innovations and expertise from across our global business to build and strengthen Australia and New Zealand’s sovereign maritime capability.”