Vanguard Class Submarines Maintenance Programme

Client: Babcock Marine

Location: Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth

Project: Vanguard class submarines maintenance

Service: Metal surface preparation and painting

Period: 13 Years



The Royal Navy has four Vanguard class submarines that undergo periodical refit at the Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth.  Denholm Industrial Services carried out the grit blasting and coating works, with the associated access and encapsulation, on the Vanguard class submarines under refit at the Devonport Royal Dockyard over an extended period.


The Challenge

Denholm Industrial Services overcame a number of challenges:

  • The works were originally on the first of class, HMS Vanguard but over time extended to all four Vanguard class vessels
  • There was a requirement to achieve a 10% reduction in price whilst maintaining programme scope
  • Managing the regularly changing vessel schedules
  • Managing additional tasks with an in-house department to ensure programnme milestones were achieved
  • Sharing best practice and innovation


The Solution

The works were successfully completed over an extended period and accommodated frequently changing vessel schedules.  A collaborative approach with the in-house blasting and painting team was key to ensuring programme milestones were met.

Throughout the project best practice and innovation were applied, sharing safety, time and cost benefits with the client.  Examples include: 

  • A standalone bespoke breathing air compressor to mitigate downtime
  • An intrinsically safe communications system that permitted constant, real time communication whilst spraying operations were ongoing
  • Custom-built fume abatement units with a series of specialist filters.  These abated the fumes to practically zero at the point of exhaust and were safe for zone rated areas
  • A system to remove the corrosion on the internal surfaces of the HP air bottles where conventional methods would not work.

Throughout the period Denholm Industrial Services completed the works without a single RIDDOR reportable incident.