HMS Portland is back at sea for the first time in four years after after a major overhaul.

The Royal Navy say here that the frigate sailed from Devonport this afternoon for sea trials as the latest Type 23 warship to complete the ‘life extension’ programme for the class – a massive undertaking which is now drawing to a close.

“After completing her last deployment in 2017 – to the North and South Atlantic – the ship was handed over to Babcock in 2018 to start her refit in the frigate sheds on the Devonport waterfront.

In the three years which since passed, in the first for her class, two electric propulsion motors were removed, rewired and replaced, the Sea Wolf missile system has been ripped out and Sea Ceptor installed in its place, the 997 surveillance and 1084 navigational radars added, and the new to Royal Navy 2150 hull mounted sonar to sharpen her anti-submarine warfare teeth.

For good measure, machinery, computer and IT systems onboard have been overhauled, as have mess decks which were designed in the 1980s so they can meet the needs and expectations of 21st Century sailors.”

The Royal Navy also say that HMS Somerset will be the next frigate to complete the life extension, while HMS Iron Duke and St Albans are mid-overhaul and HMS Sutherland becomes the last Type 23 to undergo the work, entering the refit complex next week.

You can read more here.

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David Barry
David Barry
3 months ago

So five frigates fitted for and with MODERN life extension work within 5ish years.

Glasgow will enter service when?

And Cleverly MP stood up in Parliament wearing a Corps Tie.

Leave it there.

dan
dan
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Not too worry. Dementia Joe says the Chicoms mean us no harm. haha

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Well he has said he isn’t reversing Trump’s China policies at least in essence … unless he’s forgotten what they were.

Andy G
Andy G
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

You are a racist.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Plus they are fielding ships designed for ramming/shouldering.

I think the best option for us is to concentrate our efforts on maximising the number of modern LRASM’s using all available space onboard for extended-length Mk 41 VLS cells to carry them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2021/01/15/huge-new-chinese-ships-are-made-for-ramming/

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Let’s just bankrupt the country with warship race with an economy many multiples of our own, is it not bad enough that we have destroyed our economy with Covid bollocks without then getting in to an arms race with what is the worlds rising superpower

James
James
3 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

We are in no way entering a warship race with China, we are slowly increasing the number of hulls we have over what will probably be a decade whilst decreasing numbers in other areas of the military.

Regarding Covid what choice do we have, every other country is in the same boat and doing the same thing, except the one Covid originated from which is weird.

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  James

I believe, we are in a better place than the rest of Europe in handling Covid.

James
James
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hi, I didnt say we arent, his comment was regarding the economy not our situation with Covid hence my response.

expat
expat
3 months ago
Reply to  James

Yes its weird that were it originate, where they stated it didn’t transmit person to person for 2 months so took no action to stop transmission and in city of almost 9 million people there was 3500 deaths. During the 2 months when is ran unchecked millions visited Wuhan but the virus has only killed 4600 people in a country with over a billion people. As you say weird.

Something different
Something different
3 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Regarding COVID we had no choice unless allowing tens of thousands of other people to die is an acceptable price people are willing to pay.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago

Exactly, the flat earthers who are calling such actions ‘bollocks’ or other dismissive insults, never actually explain what the alternative is, especially as Sweden has been discredited as an option. You know you are wasting your time when you hear someone complaining about no one is having operations in hospital because of covid while it seems they think more operations could be done by ignoring covid and having to deal with many, many more patients who one presumes are to be left to suffer and die elsewhere. Not sure what PM could get away with that policy.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

What do you want to happen? These vessels not get extensive refits

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Aye, it seems to have gone a bit ‘peculiar’ in the comments above. All in all, ship finishes refit and heads out to work up and rejoin the fleet…… am I missing something ???

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hi Andy, 4yrs to refit one ship at a total cost of around £600M until they can be replaced.

My comment above relates to the time taken to not only upgrade but build from new.

First in class Type 26 around 2027.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

£600 million is the total cost of the whole LIFEX program!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yes, I know, sorry if I didn’t make that clearer.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

The point is, was this money well spent given the in-service dates for the new Type 26/31 against the out of service dates for the Type 23’s? It seems to me that the slow build rate is costing us more money and quite possibly fewer hulls, something we clearly cannot afford? Not only that but failing to include additional Mark 41 Strike Length cells on type 45’s during their refit makes little sense to me either. “The cost of these vertical launchers is rumored to be in the region of $500,000 each so equipping the entire fleet could possibly be… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

And we still haven’t decided what missiles to install, if we had we could have used this valuable time in refit to install the cells rather than have them fitted at a later date.

In short diether and delay costs more in the end!

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/08/type-45-destroyer-time-fit-strike-launchers/

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Sounds far too much like common sense. What’s the point of building massively expensive warships that will never actually reach the true standard that’s required to operate in a serious shooting war. Seems we just plan to replace them with new ships that themselves will never get the weapons that they were designed to use. Seems the builders needs are taking precedence over the products, bit like British Leyland back in the day. Let’s hope u like that example these never need to be put to the test.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

No mate. These are very extensive life extension refits for the T23’s, and take considerable time and money. We want great kit, but it comes with a considerable price tag. ?

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

So, do these refits enable these Type 23s to accept an interim AShM other than Harpoon Block II?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I don’t know to be honest. Depends on what system we buy. If it’s a Harpoon variant, it could be pretty straightforward, but if it’s a completely different missile, then considerable work would be required.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Older missiles communicated data via a specialist bus, (fat multi core cables) and required a large range of voltage AC + DC plus sometimes compressed air and sometimes chilled water for cooling launcher electronics. A few also needed liquid nitrogen gas (-178C) for IR seeker cooling. More modern systems tend to just need data cable (ethernet or fibre) for the command system. Voltages can now easily be-created locally with AC->AC or DC->DC voltage convertors (which are compact, cheap and off the shelf) so it is not the fiddle it once was. As GunBuster put it so well on another thread… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago

Informative. Thx. What I was driving at I suppose was if a missile was chosen which required a lengthy docking period then notwithstanding the terrain following requirement it would suggest Harpoon. But if in the lifex work the old wiring has been ripped out and a new support network has been put in then a decision has already been taken – not Harpoon.
A Type 23 ASW frigate with Sea Ceptor, Wildcat, Sea Venom and a terrain following land attack / AShM can bear comparison with the best.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I doubt that it would require a lengthy docking period to fit a new canister launch missile.

Running network cables is no big deal and can be done in service as can the deck mounting points and reinforcement to take the canisters. It is only really if something else ‘special’ is required that it might take time. And all that can be done alongside during normal crew R&R rhythm.

We will only get a clue when some trials results are announced.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago

Good to know. Thx. I’ll keep my eyes open for news of the trials.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Most fits can be planned into regular FTSP periods of maintenance. For harpoon take off the launchers and deflectors. The deck is already strengthened because the missiles and the launcher frames are not lightweight. Cables pass through bulkhead and deck glands to the Harpoon power room. From there cables go down to the Ops Room to the Control Console. The rip out and install would be straight forward if its planned and managed properly and you throw enough manpower resources at it. Tests and trials will be the time consuming thing. For a new system that will take a while… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Appreciate the explanation. Thx

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

In the interests of getting something into service fast and to budget Harpoon 2 is the go-to. Given the limited life span of the T23 spending 12-18 months getting a new weapons fit right seems questionable.

I suspect that is why it is termed ‘intermediate’ AShM – which is quite a big clue.

I’d expect the T26 & T45 to jump straight to the end solution. And dare I say it T31 – although Ron5, who seems to work in the DEiS ship contracts unit 🙁 will tell me I am wrong!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago

Wow that’s quite enlightening and shows perhaps more generally how what looks superficially at least odds on isn’t the one selected. Saw something similar studying pluses and minuses of each of the moon lander candidates with the big time loser by their calculations based on a range of factors being the most likely to be chosen based on NASA familiarity and lowest risk despite being more expensive than the other two put together. Complex business when politics, institutional thinking and technology become entwined.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

This latest LIFEX”ed T23 Andy, will be on a trials period to test out its new sonar 2150. Made by Ultra Electronics, I am sure.
I wonder how good will it be compared to the old type?

Last edited 3 months ago by Meirion X
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Considering that 2050 was outstanding in range and the target information that it gave you , if 2150 is an improvement on that the TAS apes will be happy. Hopefully 2150 Vis 2050 obsolescence issues cleared down, more modern electronics that is COTS, and a better display. The old 2050 display was a green CRT which was fine but a flat panel LCD colour would be an improvement. Modern electronics mean a smaller power use so less external (Chilled water) cooling is required. The amps for the transmission will still need to be cooled …they are beasts and the most… Read more »

Camhanaich
Camhanaich
3 months ago

So £46million refit cost per ship, x 13 ships to receive the ‘life extension’ refit?

The thing is, the UK frigates (old and new) do not even feature in the top 10 of the worlds best frigate type vessels! Talk about wasting tax payers money!

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Oh dear fellas, lots of negativity on here. Look we have to live by our means. LIFEX T23 is going to put credible warships at sea and allow time for new ships to be commissioned. Yes, ideally, we’d have 30 T26 rolling off the production line right now but the British public don’t want to pay 1p or 2p more in the pound in income tax so this was inevitable. Just need the RN to make sure the LIFEX gets as many T23s in the water while we build new ships. Those new ships need to be built as rapidly… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Exactly Rob. We are not in the game of trying to out spend or out build China. And we certainly are not looking to start any wars with them, just as they aren’t with us. They want our trade at the end of the day. Exciting years ahead for the RN. And a considerable shipbuilding programme over the next 15 years. ??

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yeap. Even if we wanted too we couldn’t out build the Chinese economy – some realism is needed. We also need some realism on here with the weapons fit for the ships we have. Lots of talk about 100s of advanced anti-ship missiles, big guns and advanced radars but do people really want to see their income tax going up, I think not.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The economy is taking a massive hit with COVID, and all this lovely kit has to be paid for. And all though we live in a very unstable world, there isn’t a direct military threat to the UK. No amount of Frigates or tanks have saved us from the pandemic. I think Cyber espionage is a much bigger threat to our way of living then any number of Chinese warships. Some people have been reading to many Tom Clancy novels ?

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

And what would be the point on spending massive sums of money to operate on the other side of the world when the S Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese and Americans are already there?

None. The RN should concentrate on our own security, in our bit of the world and assemble a small but supportive presence farther afield.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

And any large scale conflict would be part of a NATO coalition, not the RN on it’s own against China or Russia. And our technological capability would allow us to sit side by side with the Americans, when other nations, with larger Armed Forces on paper, but without the top end kit, would be told to stay at home.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Any Issues or Conflicts in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea will have nothing to do with NATO,its well out of its area of Juristiction,admittedly any actions will inevitably be US led but there are Specific Treaties and Alliances in that Region to cover any eventualities.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thanks Paul ?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I understood recently that NATO was examining what role if any it might take out of theatre specifically I thought with reference to the Pacific region. I’m sure it will continue to be discussed as I do t think there is a full or even perhaps partial understanding of the threat that China potentially poses in future decades. It’s beginning to no5 need western markets while being able to intimidate any potential adversary not closely linked to a NATO like grouping. It won’t need to actually start a war to win.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

So, how come China is building so many Ships then ? Why are they building new base’s in the South China Sea and beyond ? Looks to me like they are already preparing for conflict. 1.4 billion hungry mouths to feed and an ever increasing economy/financial apatite is a worry.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Oh and, Who gave the World Covid ?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Just because they are building lot’s of warships, doesn’t mean they are drawing up WW3 plans does it. They want to be dominating in there part of the world, and I’m sure they want to pass the USA in GDP term’s. But that doesn’t mean they long for conflict. And the west as a whole including Japan, Taiwan, S Korea, Australia ect still has far more firepower then China. It’s ok for us to spend vast billions on defence but not China? They want our trade at the end of the day, they need us to buy stuff, and our… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Whatever you say here, it all adds up to Conflict in my book. Another Dictator building weapons at a frightening pace, you might not see it but crikey mate smell the coffee.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

The west has a far more capable and devastating military force. But it doesn’t mean we are off around the world ready to invaded and generally be a pain in the arse. Just because China is building up it’s military, doesn’t mean it wants to use it. China needs the west for economic growth, and we need China for cheap labour and goods. How many Chinese goods are in your average British, American and EU homes these day’s. Lot’s.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Lots and Lots but I for one try really hard to avoid buying their stuff ( including this thing I’m typing on ) Too many of us believe that Cheep is as good as Quality. In other news, China and Iran have just penned a Trade agreement today, Oil and Goods plus who knows what.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Pesky Iranians. We should just let the Israelis crack on with them. They love a good scrap ?

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

A very interesting Scrap it would be too….. It’s a long way for the IDF to venture and they would be pinned down from the rear by thousands of Missiles being launched from the poor, defenceless Gaza strippers.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

The dictator indeed and already fishing in other Countries backyards.

“The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland.

The aim is to ensure only “patriotic” figures can run for positions of power.

Critics warn it will mean the end of democracy, as it removes all opposition from the city parliament.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-56560829

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Indeed……. It’s a common theme in many States at the moment, just look at our friends the Turks.

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Where do you get your information from, the international relations section of the Beano?

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Various sources including friends in high places and positions of valid Experience/knowlege/interest. Plus I read a lot of international Defence news sites including RT, Aljazeera, CNN, CGTN, Janes, Defence news 24/7 and STRN, DIN, FUUFT, MOD, BAE, LMD and so on and so forth……. As a Teacher, I guess you are a NUT.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Good point Rob, so bloody negative, we have rounded a corner with RN, hit the bottom and we’re on the upswing. Let’s not concern ourselves with Chinese mass warship production, we can’t possibly hope to complete in numbers game and shouldn’t even try quite frankly. China is fighting yesterday’s wars quite frankly, our future offensive cyber attack capability, will blind and spoof their fleet. Concentrate on superior British technology (both sensor and weapons) and working with our allies. God forbid we ever get into a shooting war with China, but if we did, the Spearfish going vertically straight through your… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hence the reason for posting above, I think the best option for us is to concentrate our efforts on maximising the number of modern LRASM’s using all available space onboard for extended-length Mk 41 VLS cells to carry them. As for ramming, it makes it difficult to fire on an unarmed cutter that rams you and damages your hull, especially when it’s taken us fives years to get one frigate back into service. A problem the US had some years back. And of course, both China and Russia conducting joint military exercises with a new route opening up to the North… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Now consider the combined strength of Russia and China working together and the risks that will pose, both on land and at sea.

“Speaking at a press conference, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Chad Sbragia said that China was on course to expand its fleet to 360 vessels by the end of 2020.”

https://www.naval-technology.com/features/china-boasts-worlds-largest-navy-us-dod-report/

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Hi Nigel, Yup, I have pointed out the North Eastern Passage route in the past. I think 1300 ships reportedly made the trip in 2019. I believe the Russians kept ice breakers on patrol just in case. However, for me the main point to note is that SSN’s can go under the ice! So if the Chinese arn’t already making their presence felt in the North Atlantic expect them at some time in the near future. I would also point out the while the RN / UK cannot possibly compete on our own with China, we are part of an… Read more »

David Nicholls
David Nicholls
3 months ago

I wonder if the OSD for these T23s is being changed. This refit seems to be very comprehensive and the only way the PM can credibly consider 24 by 2030 would be to keep most of the T23s in service until replaced by th T32s. It has always seemed to me odd to do such comprehensive upgrades and then dispose of them so quickly.

James
James
3 months ago
Reply to  David Nicholls

Im sure a number of parts and equipment will get removed from them when they are retired to be fitted to other hulls.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  David Nicholls

Some T23 have Not had a full LIFEX. Those that have had, will see them into post 2030.

Geoff
Geoff
3 months ago

Have any T45s started PIP yet ?

RobW
RobW
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

Yes Dauntless has been done. Being tested alongside, slated to rejoin the fleet this year.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

As Rob said – Daring is next.