Royal Navy amphibious transport dock HMS Albion is scheduled to sail from Devonport Naval Base at the end of the week after spending almost six years tied to port in “extended readiness”.
In late 2011 the ship was placed at extended readiness, following the decision by the UK Government in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to operate only one of two amphibious ships at a time.
To be able to return to sea from mothballs, HMS Albion underwent a £90 million mid-life technical upgrade.
In 2015 Babcock Marine began work on the ship’s rejuvenation. In one of Devonport’s largest dry-docks Albion rested temporarily whilst her hull was inspected, and major invasive structural work and re-preservation of the paint scheme was undertaken.
Twelve months later, she was refloated and moved to the non-tidal basin at which point the propulsion and weapon systems were brought alive.
In January of this year 350 sailors and royal marines of her ships company moved back on board and in March the ship was moved to her home berth at Weston Mill.
The capability improvements are significant and necessary and will allow the ship to serve well into 2030s. During the refit 110 improvements have been made.
The most significant being the state-of- the-art Phalanx defensive Close in Weapon System, a new propulsion cooling system to allow the ship to operate more effectively in warmer climates, upgraded surveillance radar and combat system computer brain to manage all the weapons and systems.
HMS Albion now undertakes an intensive sea trials package to confirm performance of all her systems, followed by operational sea training. The ship is scheduled to sail from Devonport Naval Base at the end of the week.