BAE Systems today marks 15 years of supporting Operations Aintree and Kipion, the Royal Navy’s mine countermeasure (MCM) strategy in the Gulf. The defence contractor has supported the Royal Navy’s Hunt Class vessels in-region for the past 15 years – and also delivers maintenance and upkeep to the rest of the Hunt Class flotilla out of Portsmouth Naval Base.
The UK Mine Countermeasures Force is part of the nation’s ongoing commitment to peace and security in the region where Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels are permanently stationed.
The Royal Navy works closely with regional and coalition partners to maintain the security of Gulf sea lanes and ensure the safe flow of trade. This is crucial to both international shipping and the global economy. Approximately 15% of the world’s oil supply comes from the region.
The UK Mine Countermeasures Force is currently made up of two Hunt Class mine countermeasures vessels, HMS Middleton and HMS Chiddingfold, and two Sandown Class minehunters, HMS Penzance and HMS Bangor.
In collaboration with the Royal Navy’s Forward Support Unit, BAE Systems provides continuous in-region support via its Hunt Class Output Management team. It maintains a presence in Bahrain, using local teams where possible and deploys teams from Portsmouth when required.
In addition to ongoing maintenance carried out in the region, BAE Systems also delivers maintenance and upkeeps to all six Hunt Class vessels at Portsmouth Naval Base.
BAE Systems’ work on the Hunt Class has included:
- Repair and upkeep of the ships’ specialist Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) hulls;
- Involvement in the Hunt re-propulsion programme – designing for, and implementing, the installation of new engines to replace legacy systems;
- Delivery of a wide range of capability insertions and systems upgrades to upgrade performance, capabilities and crew conditions.
“We’re enormously proud of the successful part we’ve played in enabling the Royal Navy’s mine countermeasure operations in the Gulf over the last 15 years,” commented Jon Pearson, Warship Support Director, BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business.
“This success is down to a number of factors; we have industry-leading engineering expertise, an ability to co-ordinate support to multiple ships and different classes of ships, experience in deployed support all over the world and excellent working relationships with the Royal Navy and our extensive supply chain. Perhaps most of all, our success is down to the dedication and flexibility of our teams, providing continuous support to address issues and maintain ship availability.”
The Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence have today held an event in Portsmouth Naval Base to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of Operations Aintree and Kipion. BAE Systems was present at the event, alongside partners and other industry organisations which have supported the Royal Navy’s strategy in the Gulf.