Babcock to Maintain Ukraine’s Sandown Minehunting Vessels

Babcock has received a three-year contract to sustain and support two Sandown-class mine countermeasures vessels for the Ukrainian Navy.

Sourced from the Royal Navy fleet, the platforms were reconfigured and transferred under a multinational Maritime Capability Coalition effort to boost Kyiv’s defense in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s procurement of the ships — named the “Cherkasy” and the “Chernihiv” — was revealed on December 11 in London.

Domestic Support

Babcock wrote that Ukraine’s latest minehunters will be supported by the company’s recently established in-country office in Ukraine.

The site employs electrical and mechanical engineers and fabricators specializing in preventive maintenance and technical support.

They will leverage experiences in working with previous Sandown maintenance programs to ensure the operability and sustainability of the vessels.

Alongside naval efforts, the site will address the requirements of other Ukrainian customers and industry partners.

Sandown-class vessel HMS Shoreham
Sandown-class vessels such as HMS Shoreham will be sent to Ukraine. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright

“Babcock’s role in international defence has never been more critical. As the lead industry partner in Ukraine’s naval capabilities enhancement programme, we are expertly placed to support these important naval assets,” Babcock CEO David Lockwood stated.

“The recent announcement of our Ukrainian business, alongside this naval support contract, builds on the work we are already doing to support the country’s military land assets as part of the UK’s support for Ukraine.”

‘Vital’ Platforms

The 172-foot (52-meter) Sandown minehunters use a diesel-electric engine for a cruising speed of 13 knots (24 kilometers/15 miles per hour).

Each vessel can carry up to 40 personnel and includes a 30-millimeter machine gun, .50-caliber heavy machine guns, and general-purpose machine guns.

In addition to Ukraine and the UK, the class is employed by the naval forces of Estonia, Saudi Arabia, and Romania.

“These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes, which have been severely limited since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion,” UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said during the London announcement.

“As an island nation with a proud maritime history, the UK and Royal Navy are particularly well-placed to support this endeavour, which will form part of a series of new coalitions formed between allies to ensure an enduring military commitment in support of Ukraine.”

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