Duke Class Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster

The UK Royal Navy’s Duke Class Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster has completed a 16-month, £22m refit at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK, and is set to undergo sea trials off the South Coast for the first time since September 2010.

In April 2011, BAE was awarded a contract by the Royal Navy to modernise the 21-year-old frigate to enhance air defence capability, improve situational awareness and allow easy future systems upgrades for evolving operational requirements.

The upgrade included the ship’s Seawolf-guided missile system, command system and communications, an installation of a small calibre 30mm close-range gun system, target control radars and an active towed array sonar to ensure future operational readiness.

The refurbishment also includes new diesel generators along with the upgrade of four turbine engines hull and replacements of shafts and propellers to boost the war fighting capabilities of the ship.

Built by BAE Systems, HMS Lancaster was commissioned in June 2002 to support anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions. The frigate can also be used to extend support during anti-drug operations including tackling piracy, drug-running, people trafficking, arms smuggling, and other criminal and terrorist threats.

The 133m long vessel has a displacement capacity of 4,900t, 16.1m beam capacity, a range of 14,485km, is capable of cruising at speeds of 28 knots and can accommodate a crew of 185.

The Type 23 frigate features vertical-launched Seawolf point missiles, Harpoon surface-to-surface missile in two four-cell launchers and can carry Merlin MK1 helicopters.

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

Image: HMS Lancaster completes £22m refit and is ready to undergo sea trials. Photo: Royal Navy.