HMS Lancaster is “flexing her military muscle” off the south coast, say the Royal Navy.

According to a press release, the ship is gearing up for her first operational duties in nearly five years following a period of extended readiness and two-year refit in Devonport.

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“That overhaul gave her numerous new systems and sensors, from Artisan 3D radar (the grey slab which spins on top of the main mast) to the Sea Ceptor air defence system (the Mach 3 missiles which take out airborne threats up to 15 miles away). Those systems, as well as the ship’s company, will face a two-month-long test in September when the Queen’s Frigate – she’s named after the monarch in her role as Duke of Lancaster – faces Operational Sea Training. Akin to ‘pre-season training’ for Royal Navy warships, it ensures the 180-plus sailors and Royal Marines on board are ready for every possible eventuality on deployment.

That includes, however unlikely, preparing for chemical or nuclear incidents by donning precisely-fitting respirators (Lancaster has a self-contained inner citadel to protect its sailors in the event of radioactive fallout/biological threats, but it doesn’t extend to working on the upper deck). Firefighting and damage response teams were put to work in the bowels of the frigate. And the 4.5in main gun was thoroughly put through its paces at maximum elevation, maximum depression and maximum rate of fire (two dozen rounds a minute) which truly tested the gunbay team handling 21kg shells beneath the turret.”

Further training and equipment trials over the next ten days will focus on the 4,500-tonne warship’s other weapons and sensors – every day bringing her one step closer full operational status, say the Royal Navy here.

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Steve R
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Steve R

I know it’s just photos but it doesn’t instil much confidence in our “fire and fury” when the only weapon shown on the frigate in the photographs is a GPMG!

reaper
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reaper

Poorly placed rounds from sailor operating a GPMG. Scary

Trevor
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Trevor

You don’t lime anybody do you?

Andy
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Andy

Artisan 3D puls 32 Sea Ceptor is quite an upgrade.

Do we know if the Queens Frigate will be accompanying QE on her journey next year?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

It is unlikely she will accompany QE, because she is not ASW, frigate. It will most likely be Richmond and Portland that will accompany QE next year.

Rob N
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Rob N

Hi,

Is it correct that the ‘non-ASW’ frigates still retain their bow sonar and their older towed sonar. If this is the case they are sill ASW capable but not-quite as cutting edge.

Paul T
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Paul T

Rob – Bow Sonar yes,towed Sonar no at a guess.

Rob N
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Rob N

Yes a 2050 she will not get the 2150 of the 8 updated ASW T23s nor will she get the 2087 towed. However she still should have 2031Z towed unless it has been removed. I do not know why you would remove it as it is still of use. All the T23 had a 2031Z originally.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Rob, I can’t find any reference to the 2031Z still being in service with the RN, might still be in service with the Chilean T23’s. My guess is that it is being removed from service. While you are right to think that it would still provide some capability there are three good reasons for the RN to remove it. Firstly, it was developed in the 1970’s and first deployed in 1980 so old tech with little or no supply chain left in place to supply spares, secondly, there will be no body coming out of collegue or uni with… Read more »

Rob N
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Rob N

Interesting – many thanks. It is obvious that we only got 8 T26s because we only have 8 ASW T23s to pass on their kit. I presume the T31 will only have a hull mounted sonar and no towed sonar…

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Err, pretty much yeh. On the plus side the T31 has a huge amount of potential, its big for starters. However, if you wanted to turn it into a really effective ASW platform you’d need to add electric drive and a whole lot of other noise reduction goodies. The attention to detail needed to create a truly accoustic stealth platform is considerable. I was struct by US (Navy I think) comments recently about European ASW frigates that they were assessing for their new frigate programme. They were very impressed that they could go into the main engine spaces when the… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Does she carry a Merlin or Wildcat?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

Lancaster carriies a Wildcat, she is classed as a General Propose Frigate, not a ASW frigate.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

With Martlet in service?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

Not just yet, the Wildcat should be entering service later this year

Jonathan
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Jonathan

Do we know if these refits will increase reliability and availability or are they still materially knackered even after the refit.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

They do replace worn out metal in the refit, and strengthen the hull.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Yes.
Cut out the worn out steel and place patch inserts in where needed. It not just in a refit that is done. Its an ongoing thing throughout a vessels life.
Vessels flex and crack all the time.
Steel hulls are better than Ally for this . Most Ally hulled vessels are on a constant survey regime for cracks and weld repairs to the cracks.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

No mention of new diesel and gen sets. Anyone have info on these?

Joe16
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Joe16

I don’t think the T23s are slated to get any new powerplant systems, this refit is only meant to get them over the finish line in 5-10 years when the T31s and T26s come in.

Dave
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Dave

Wrong

Paul T
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Paul T

HMS Richmond is currently Trialing the new PowerPlant arrangement.

Ian
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Ian

How much does this refurbishment cost…..not at sea for 2years……would it have been better to have scrapped/sold this ship and put the money into an extra Type 31

Johny
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Johny

No cause building a new ship takes months or even years with this rubbish government!!

Dave
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Dave

What? Since when has the government been building ships? Doh

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Depends on what you have done. Not counting the new radar and missiles which where Govt funished something like 10-15 Mil for new underwater valves, hull inserts, minor overhauls of equipment, Modification Updates to equipment, Additions and Alterations to equipment, habitability improvements. Selling a T23 wont get you very much . They will go for scrap. Previous sales to Chile where for low mileage models. They went cheap and the money was made back for the pre sale overhaul and spares package. That said…BAe who overhauled them and sold them on then got screwed by the US Govt for breaking… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Got to love George’s choice of photo with the “Fire and Fury” caption!