Bae Systems has been awarded a contract to upgrade the capability of the 20-year-old UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Lancaster, at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK.

Under the £17.9m contract, BAE will upgrade the ship’s Seawolf-guided missile system, command system and communications, and install a small calibre 30mm gun system to ensure future operational readiness.

Work will also be undertaken on the ship’s hull as well as refurbishment of her diesel generators and replacement of shafts and propellers.

The upgrade will boost the frigate’s air defence capability, improve situational awareness and allow easy future systems upgrades as operational requirements evolve.

BAE Systems Ship Support Integrated Operations team head Barry Woolley said the 12-month upgrade will boost the war fighting capability of the ship and continue to deliver exceptional capability to the Navy.

The project is expected to be complete in March 2012 and the frigate is set to return to operational fleet later that month.