The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset has been moved from dry dock to continue its LIFEX refit in No.2 Basin.

The frigate’s major part of the overhaul was carried out by Babcock at Devonport’s Frigate Support Centre.

HMS Sutherland is preparing to take place in the covered dry dock.

Five Type 23 frigates are currently undergoing a £600m project to refit and extend their life for another decade.

The refit programme is now nearing completion. It began with the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Montrosei n 2014.

This allows the ships to serve until their successor Type 26 and Type 31 frigates take charge.

Surface Flotilla Devonport Refit Support Programme commander Jim Ellis said: “The capability sustainment for the Type 23s is putting a lot more modern technology on to the platforms. It’s upgrading their equipment and the fabric of the ship as well.

“It’s improving their life span, so basically putting the teeth and the legs back into the Type 23s, to bridge the gap until the Type 26 enters service from 2025 onwards.”

Work on fitting out HMS Somerset will continue in the basin. It is expected to be returned to the navy next year.

HMS Lancaster returned to fleet last year and was followed by HMS Richmond. HMS Portland is now ready for trials.

Babcock warships managing director Will Erith said: “Covid has been a challenge, but we put mitigations in place. Safety is our number one priority and it has been a team effort. We are really proud of what we have achieved in 2020.”