The British Royal Navy's Duke-class Type 23 frigate, HMS Westminster, has conducted its first sea trials since the completion of its refit programme by BAE Systems.
More than 800 engineers, technicians and shipwrights at UK's Portsmouth Naval Base worked to execute one of the longest and most complex upgrades in the 24-year-old ship's history, in order to prepare the vessel for the last ten years of its life.
HMS Westminster chief petty officer Andrew Buckley said: “Having taken Westminster out of build, I am proud to be taking her back out to sea after this extensive refit.
“Although many things have changed about the ship materially, the ship’s company are just as proud to be serving on her as they were at day one.”
The vessel has been equipped with a new Artisan 3D radar, which has replaced the radar 996.
The previous Seawolf air-defence system has also been replaced by the new Sea Ceptor system, doubling its interception range.
The hull of the vessel has been cleaned and repainted with anti-fouling paint in order to prevent algae and other marine organisms sticking to the ship.
Additional upgrades to the weapon system include the deployment of a 4.5in gun service, and a revamp of the engines and machinery, dining and communal areas, as well as the bridge.
Westminster is expected to be delivered to the navy by mid-2017 following the completion of the remaining sea trials.
The other two Type 23 frigates, HMS Montrose and Argyll, were also revamped at Devonport Royal dockyard. Argyll is set to test its new primary weapon technology, the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS), or Sea Ceptor system, later this year.
Image: The Royal Navy’s Duke-class Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.