Feature, Transport

Royal Navy orders 100,000 LED tubes

A T45 Destroyer, left, accompanies the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. The ships were originally fitted with fluorescent sources but these will be swopped out for 100,000 LED tubes.

THE UK’s Royal Navy has ordered 100,783 LED tubes in a £1 million deal in what will be widely seen as a vote of confidence in the technology.

The lights are transported to Portsmouth naval base where the warships are docked. There they are installed in batches of between 8,000 to10,000 by 40 electricians from defence contractor BAE Systems.

The light sources will be installed in 21 ships of the fleet, including six Type 45 destroyers, 13 Type 23 frigates and the two recently-acquired flagship aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Royal Navy engineers are said to have tested some 3,000 individual pieces of LED lighting before giving Coventry-based Voltacon its biggest-ever order.

Around 100 staff worked round-the-clock for 45 days to manufacture the LED tube lights at Voltacon’s factory in China to process the order in record time.

The lights were then transported to Portsmouth naval base where the warships are docked to be installed in batches of between 8,000 to 10,000 by 40 electricians from defence contractor BAE Systems.

‘This is probably the largest off shore lighting contract in the world,’ Voltacon managing director Stefanos Kandilidis told Lux.

‘We had been in discussions with the Ministry of Defence for three years and they had also tested our lights for three years on the ships before the refurbishment work on the fleet began.

‘Previously, the ships were fitted with fluorescent lights but there are many benefits in changing to LED lighting.

‘Lamps and tubes can be difficult to source and keeping spare parts when you are at sea is not easy, but having LED energy-saving lights reduces costs, maintenance load and storage space as they last longer.

‘Long-term, it reduces energy which is important when the ships are running on low power.’

Stefanos said the lights are now being installed on an opportunity basis when the ships are in dock so it may be 12 months before they are all fully fitted.

‘We’re really proud to have our lights installed on the Royal Navy’s fleet including the HMS Queen Elizabeth which is the UK’s newest aircraft carrier with the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales in build in Rosyth Naval Dockyard,’ he added.

Keith Young, of the Ministry of Defence’s procurement agency, Defence Equipment and Support, said: ‘[Voltacon] is quite a small company compared with the ones we normally deal with, but this has been extremely beneficial as there has been more of a personal touch.

‘The company has very good products which will be hugely beneficial to us and has been extremely flexible, ensuring that our order was processed quickly so that the lights are ready to install.’


  • View the latest LED tubes at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at London ExCeL, taking place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. View the full events programme HERE.