Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bulwark back at sea

3rd Street Promenade

NOW this is a sight to warm the cockles of British hearts in a cold, dark winter.
Dark being particularly pertinent here, for it was in the fading light of a late January afternoon that HMS Bulwark put to sea for the first time in nearly a year.
The assault ship has undergone an eight-month overhaul in the hands of Babcock in Devonport.
In those eight months, some £32m has been spent revamping the ship’s machinery spaces,  magazines, her high voltage propulsion system, advanced communication sensors, computer and IT network, and upgrades to her defensive weapons systems.
Another significant improvement has been Bulwark’s conversion to full tactical night vision for her landing craft and helicopters; the overhaul means that she will now be able to operate two Chinooks simultaneously from her flight deck.

That’s a little while off; first several weeks of equipment and engine trials beckon in the South Coast exercise areas, as well as bringing the 300-plus-strong ship’s company up to speed after so long alongside in Devonport.
Those initial trials should be done by the end of February, after which there’s the more demanding task of turning Bulwark back into a thoroughly-honed assault ship; come the autumn she’ll take over from her older sister Albion as the nation’s amphibious flagship.
"Sailing is an immensely-important and exciting moment for HMS Bulwark, for myself as her Commanding Officer, and for her ship’s company,” said CO Capt Alex Burton.
“It marks a significant milestone achievement for all who have worked extremely hard to make today possible.”
Picture: LA(Phot) Martin Carney, FRPU West
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