Portsmouth Naval Base dock welcomes first Royal Navy warship in 17 years after £13m overhaul

CRITICAL upgrades can begin on a £1bn warship after a huge £13m overhaul to an outdated dock was completed at Portsmouth Naval Base.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 3:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 3:47 pm

HMS Daring has become the first warship to enter Number 14 Dock for refit in 17 years following the multi-million pound revamp of the site.

The dock has been transformed into a new facility capable of carrying out complex deep maintenance jobs on frigates and destroyers.

It’s a move that has been touted by naval top brass as a critical step forward in improving the base’s versatility and capability in refitting the most advanced warships in the fleet.

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HMS Daring has become the first warship to enter Number 14 Dock for refit in 17 years following the multi-million pound revamp of the site. Photo: Royal Navy

Captain Iain Greenlees, the base’s Infrastructure team leader, said: ‘Bringing 14 Dock back to life is an exciting moment in the long history of the base providing support to the Royal Navy.

‘This project to complete the base’s deep maintenance facility is the final major component of this programme, all delivered to plan, and we are ready now to support the first operational deployment by HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escorts next year.’

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The last ship to undergo deep maintenance in 14 Dock was HMS Enterprise in 2003.

Now the overhauled facility will serve the Royal Navy for the next 50 years, supporting carrier strike operations with the UK’s two huge aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

A massive mega crane, which towers 223ft above the naval base, has been installed which is able to lift up to 30 tonnes with ease.

For upgrade work to take place, the facility had to be drained for the first time in 15 years, with dockyard workers cleaning 13,500 square metres of its surface.

Number 14 Dock’s regeneration is the final part of a £40m investment in the naval base over the last four years to create a deep maintenance facility in Portsmouth.

The investment has also seen the modernisation of neighbouring 15 Dock and adjoining workshops.

The upgrade programme has been led by defence giant BAE Systems, which maintains the navy’s fleet in Portsmouth.

Chris Delahunt, head of estates and programmes at BAE, said the firm was ‘proud’ to have been part of the project and was ‘excited by the results’.

Number 14 Dock was officially declared open last Friday by Alison Bailey, whose husband is the current naval case commander, Commodore JJ Bailey.

The dock’s crane will be commissioned next month.

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