The Royal Naval warship HMS Sutherland has emerged from the giant ship refit sheds at Plymouth Naval Base after the first stage of upgrading with cutting-edge equipment.
The Plymouth-based and Scotland-affiliated Type 23 Frigate, known as the Fighting Clan, entered refit in HM Naval Base Devonport a year ago. After a significant amount of work on her hull and upper deck she is now once again in full view outside ready for the next stage.
A year’s work of engineering has put the ship in a fantastic position to serve the Royal Navy with the steel works completed during this refit doubling her life from the 18 years she is now to a potential 36-year-life.
The captain of HMS Sutherland, Commander Stephen Anderson from Kilmarnock, Scotland, said: “This marks a major milestone in HMS Sutherland’s re-generation. It is the culmination of many months of hard work involving Babcock, numerous contractors and my ship’s company. We can now look forward to the final preparations for moving back on board in less than three weeks, whilst focussing our combined efforts on returning to sea and back to the Fleet in early 2015.”
Engineering Technician Raj Mehon, 30, from West London said: “HMS Sutherland is my first ship since completing training, so I’m very eager to move into the newly furnished messes later this month and settle into life onboard.”
“She’s currently being fitted with some new cutting-edge technologies, such as the Type 997 medium range surveillance radar. As an engineering technician on the new fast track scheme, it’s a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience and knowledge of this new equipment, as the Navy will be looking to us as future maintainers over the next few decades. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s great to finally have HMS Sutherland out of the shed and regenerating for the sea trial phase earlier next year.”
Her sister ship HMS Montrose now enters the Devonport refit sheds. HMS Sutherland will continue the proud Scottish links while HMS Montrose takes some well earned time out. The Fighting Clan, has the motto ‘Sans Peur’ (which is translated ‘Without Fear’), and she is well on her way to once again becoming Sutherland’s fearless frigate.