HMS Vengeance
HMS Vengeance

Nov 20, 2012– Northumberland, UK  (Techreleased) – A state of the art Reactor Control and Instrumentation (RC&I) system is to be fitted to HMS Vengeance by Babcock during the current Long Overhaul Period and Refuel (LOP(R)) being undertaken at Devonport Royal Dockyard.  This will be the first installation of the new system on a submarine.

The new RC&I system has been developed and manufactured by Rolls-Royce to replace the current Pressurised Water Reactor 2 (PWR2) RC&I system, which was designed in the mid-1980s.  While the existing system functions well, the through-life costs are increasing due to obsolescence.  Its replacement with an obsolescence-tolerant RC&I design will provide long term support and availability of PWR2 plants.  Rolls-Royce Programme Manager, Ken Cartledge says “The new reactor control and instrumentation system is modern, efficient, and uses interchangeable printed electronic circuit boards, enabling a dramatic reduction in the variety of spares, which drives cost and efficiency savings for the customer.”

The first RC&I update installation, at the Shore Test Facility in Scotland earlier this year, was led and completed by Rolls-Royce, supported by Babcock.  This close team work has enabled valuable experience to be captured for the first-of-class fit on HMS Vengeance now being undertaken by Babcock, supported by Rolls Royce.

Considerable work has gone into planning this installation; an Alteration and Addition (A&A) to the LOP(R) programme will be introduced so that it does not delay the LOP(R)’s overall critical path.  The installation programme involves removal of legacy RC&I equipment, modifications to the cubicles and ship’s cabling, and installation and commissioning of the new equipment (which incorporates 800 different parts).  In addition, changes and additions are also required to interfacing systems including major consoles, ship’s cabling, and structural alterations to the equipment cubicles.  Installing the equipment items in the correct order within the cubicles and interfacing the work packages, while working within severe space constraints, as well as commissioning the system for the first time on a Vanguard class submarine, are among the significant challenges faced by the engineers.

The installation onVengeancebegan this autumn and is expected to take over two years to complete, aligning with the timetable for the LOP(R).

Babcock Project Manager Simon Reid said: “The successful completion of the prototype fit at the Shore Test Facility earlier this year, in what was an excellent example of industry and MoD collaboration, has enabled us to capture, process and transfer the experience gained in order to de-risk this first platform fit.  For example, improvements to the packaging of equipment, updates to the installation documentation, and the manufacture of specific tooling to assist with the fit have all resulted from the learning from experience process.

He adds: “The detailed integrated planning by the MoD, Babcock and Rolls-Royce teams has ensured that the individual equipment delivery forecasts match the installation plan, retiring the risk of any delays to the LOP(R) programme.”

The installation on HMS Vengeance is the first in a programme that will see the new RC&I update rolled out to the entire PWR2 fleet, including all the Vanguard class submarines and the first three Astute class submarines, with installation being undertaken in planned maintenance periods.  The new system will be fitted as original equipment for Astute boat 4 onwards.