The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Kent (F78) has returned to its homeport in Portsmouth, UK, following the completion of a year-long refit programme in December 2011.

The £24m upgrade included the ship’s hull and upper deck, and installation of a new Kryten 4.5in medium-range gun, 30mm close-range guns, a new command system, target control radars and an active towed array sonar.

The refit programme, performed by Babcock at its Rosyth facility in Scotland, also included a wide range of engineering, equipment and manpower tests and trials in preparation for the ship’s return to sea.

As part of the programme, HMS Kent has also undergone inspections, exercises and trials off the east coast of Scotland to test its new systems and equipment.

The frigate will undergo further sea trials to confirm the performance of the ship’s equipment and its ability to respond to any emergency situation.

Built by BAE Systems, HMS Kent was commissioned on 8 June 2000 to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions.

The 133m-long vessel has a displacement capacity of 4,900t, 16.1m beam capacity, is capable of cruising at speeds of 28 knots and can accommodate a crew of 185.

The aircraft carrier incorporates a range of anti-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes and guns making it one of the most capable anti-submarine warfare frigates in the world.

HMS Kent is expected to officially re-join the Royal fleet in early 2012 and will be ready for operational deployment in 2013.