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Cablofil scores direct hit with major mod project

Steel wire specialist, Cablofil, is to provide the cable containment system for all data, comms, low voltage and weapons systems on the largest ships ever built for the British armed services.

Cablofil scores direct hit with major mod project

The new Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will each weigh 65,000 tonnes and are being built numerous shipyards across the UK for assembly at Rosyth, with the first due to enter service in 2016.

The ships are being manufactured by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which consists BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the UK Ministry of Defence.

This is the first time that steel wire tray has been used in a major naval ship building project and the decision to use the Cablofil follows rigorous testing of their tray by Defence Equipment & Support in the MOD over a number of years. Already proven to withstand short circuit testing thanks to independent tests commissioned by Cablofil, the system has also passed the MOD’s loading and shock tests with flying colours.

"Steel wire tray offers the MOD a number of advantages for this type of application," explains Jonathan Long from BAE Systems. "Because it is 55% lighter than traditional perforated steel systems it provides very significant weight savings across the build, a critical consideration in the design of defence vessels. It is also 27% stronger than conventional systems, however, so at the same time it offers excellent load bearing and durability advantages. And because it is so quick and easy to bend and shape on site it is ideally suited to the confined spaces that are inherent in the layout of a ship, making it a much more practical option."

Around 25 products from the Cablofil range will be used across the two aircraft carriers including various depths of steel wire tray and a selection of brackets and fixings. Cablofil has even designed some bespoke brackets for the application to meet naval architect specifications and accommodate military equipment.

Based on the initial designs, Cablofil expects to supply around 120,000 metres of steel wire tray for the two ships but the true figure could be a lot higher.

"It’s still early days," adds managing director of Cablofil, Paul Courson. "In addition to data comms, small power and weapons cabling, we anticipate that the Cablofil system may also be used for high voltage cables as the MOD’s tests have proved that it is suitable and the weight savings it offers would provide clear advantages.

"We are delighted to be involved in this high profile project and are confident that our success in being specified for these two iconic vessels will lead to further opportunities in the offshore and marine sectors."

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