Demolition work is underway around Devonport’s 10 Dock as the first part of a job-creating £ 2bn rebuild of facilities at the UK’s largest dockyard. Defense, security and aerospace company Babcock International Group Plc, which operates the dockyard, has started removing infrastructure, including knocking down office blocks, next to the facility so it can become a maintenance center for new submarines.
During the past five years 10 Dock has been used to maintain landing craft and for the major overhaul of Albion Class Landing Platform Dock ship HMS Albion. It will now be transformed into a site for maintaining new submarines which are coming into service with more than 600 construction jobs being created.
Since 2020, the Ministry of Defense has awarded Babcock initial contracts worth about £ 140m for infrastructure design and enabling works that will support the Astute class submarine, which is replacing the Trafalgar class subs. This is the first stage in a long-term development program for Devonport that will see improvement projects spanning more than 10 years.
These major upgrades will enable deep maintenance work packages for the latest class of nuclear-powered submarines. Dock upgrades to support the Astute program will enable optimization of submarine maintenance to be carried out at both HM Naval Base Clyde and Devonport Dockyard.
In parallel with the 10 Dock project, preparations are also underway for extensive work on the adjacent 9 Dock. This project, managed by an integrated Bechtel and Cavendish Nuclear program delivery team, will deliver maintenance, life extension and facility improvements to the dock for the nuclear missile carrying Vanguard Class submarines.
Dominic Kieran, chief executive – nuclear at Babcock, said: “The demolition of the first building is a major milestone. These projects will secure the site’s long-term future, readying our operations infrastructure for decades to come to support the delivery of critical national defense outputs, while providing around 200 new roles and supply chain opportunities in the region. “
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Babcock’s Devonport facility is co-located with HM Naval Base Devonport and forms the largest naval support site in Western Europe. As well as surface ship life extension and maintenance programs, onsite operations focus on the deep maintenance of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet, for which Babcock is the UK’s sole provider.
The infrastructure works, led by Babcock, alongside the Ministry of Defense and in collaboration with partners Costain, Mott MacDonald and Mace, will create new jobs, provide opportunities for the national and local supply chain and support community initiatives. In December 2021, Babcock chair Ruth Cairnie told PlymouthLive the extensive £ 2bn rebuild of facilities at Devonport Dockyard will have a major economic impact on the city’s economy and present a huge opportunity for its companies.
Neil Thumwood, head of submarine disposals and Devonport infrastructure at the Submarine Delivery Agency, said: “The start of works in 10 dock is an important landmark in the Ministry of Defense’s continued investment in Devonport to support the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy, Submarine Delivery Agency and Babcock are all working together to provide the right facilities to support the Royal Navy Fleet of the future. We are committed to providing opportunities for Small and Medium-sized enterprises and working closely with the local community. “
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