HMS Ocean is already the largest vessel in the Royal Navy, so to help lighten ship, BAE Systems and Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Maritime Combat Systems is deploying a new system on the helicopter carrier that hosts software across multiple systems, allowing the crew to access software from navigation, communications, sonar, and other combat systems from a single console.

The Shared Infrastructure system makes operations simpler and allows ship's systems to be consolidated by sharing equipment, which means savings in space and power. This, in turn, means fewer spares need to be stowed aboard. The upshot is more room below decks and lower operating costs.

HMS Ocean's upgrade is the latest step in the MoD's Shared Infrastructure program, which aims to deploy a common shared architecture across the fleet. According to BAE, the next decade will see the system installed on all Type 23 frigates, Offshore Patrol Vessels, and the second Landing Platform Dock. This will be followed by the Type 26 Global Combat Ship and all existing and future warships.

The Shared Infrastructure deployment comes after the 21,500 tonne (23,700 ton) HMS Ocean completed a 15-month, £65 million (US$111 million) refit at Babcock Marine at Devonport naval base, during which she received over 60 upgrades to her communications and weapon systems, as well as refurbishment of the flight deck, hangar, and aviation facilities, and a fresh coat of paint.

"Installing the Shared Infrastructure equipment on board HMS Ocean introduces a more efficient way of housing the ship’s systems," says Jennifer Osbaldestin, Combat Systems Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships. "By operating on a single interface, systems can be upgraded as and when required, and capabilities deployed efficiently, ensuring the Royal Navy is best placed to respond to evolving threats. This is a fantastic achievement for the teams involved and there is a real sense of excitement as we move into the next phase of installing the technology on board one of the Royal Navy’s Landing Platform Dock ships, HMS Albion, next year.”

Source: BAE Systems