Type 23 Frigate HMS St Albans left Devonport Naval Base this week on the first stage of her regeneration to return her to front line duties later this year.

According to the Royal Navy here, she’ll spend the next few weeks flashing up her systems and testing her improved/refurbished machinery in the Channel to ensure all the work which has been carried out is effective.

“Going back to sea is a huge milestone. Today is the result of a real team effort where Ship’s Company, Babcock, other specialist contractors, shore-based support organisations, Devonport Naval Base and even some people from other Devonport-based ships have come together to help us transition from engineering project back to being a warship,” said HMS St Albans’ Commanding Officer Commander Helen Coxon.

“Whether it is the first day at sea – as is the case for many of our less experienced sailors – or returning back to where we feel at home for the more experienced, today is a big day and we’d like to thank all those involved in making it happen.”

After nearly 20 years of constant service in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Gulf, St Albans arrived in Plymouth in 2019 to begin preparations for the refit, known as the life extension (LIFEX) upgrade. The upgrade will help carry the class of Duke-class frigate into the middle of the next decade, while their successors – the Type 26 City-class currently under construction on the Clyde – enter service.

You can read more on this from the Royal Navy here.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Some good frigate news. I wish St Albans and her crew fair seas.

With Northumberland and Kent going into refit this year, we need St Albans and Sutherland coming back into service this year too.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

It’s unlikely that Northumberland will get PGMU, just up-keep maintenance to keep seaworthy until OSD in 2029. To be replaced by HMS Cardiff.

I think it is worthwhile to give HMS Kent PGMU, and some LIFEX until OSD 2033/34.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Would it not be prudent for the RN to invest in PGMU mod for every viable remaining T-23? If, for no other reason, than to accommodate potential schedule slippage in commissioning T-26 and/or T-31? 🤔

Mark P
Mark P
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

In an ideal world yes but unfortunately I can’t see there being the funds for that. If Northumberland’s OSD is in five years and she is due in I think April? With her maintenance being at least six months it wouldn’t really be value for money?.

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark P

Considering the embarrassingly tiny number of remaining escorts left in the RN & it still being several years before any new builds are ready, I’d say we can’t afford NOT to upgrade/refit for another 5 years effective service. All the more so in such close-to-war straights we’re in at the moment. We’ve been running down forces way too fast, way too long, banking on peace dividends that ended at least 9 years ago.

Mark P
Mark P
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

I completely agree but I bet them that hold the purse strings might be thinking otherwise?

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I would agree, we are also hopefully on the verge of expanding our escort fleet but production will take time. We need to husband what we have even if we don’t have crews for ships. There is merit in extending their lives and keeping them in active reserve. Much the same with our Typhoon Tranche 1 and remaining challenger 2’s. These weapon systems are still superior to anything our enemies have and building new ones takes decades. Tank crews, ships crews and pilots normally survive the loss of platforms but at current standards these people would just be sent home… Read more »

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

“We are hopefully on the verge of expanding our escort Fleet”….. Absolutely not mate…… In actual fact, our Escort Fleet is shrinking at an alarming rate… 9 Frigates and 6 Destroyers on paper, more like 10 in total at a push and many years to go before the first T26 and T31’s are commissioned…. Nothing confirmed about T32…. Please remove those rose tinted spectacles…..

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Unfortunately I agree Frank, these little to no chance of RN escort expansion above 19 units, hopefully they will at least increase the critical mass by increasing the capabilities of what we have, via cramming Mk41 silos with a whole variety of missiles and adding various gun systems, plus adding various unmanned systems.

Our bilateral commitment to the next gen Attack submarine project will take ‘a lot’ of the available funding for the next 25 years.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

On GB News yesterday there was an Article about 30 Typhoons ready for the chop .When the presenter asked the Defence corresponent on this matter he replied that the Typhoons in question were old Trench 1s and have not been upgraded and can only be used in interception roll, which is true. However in my opinion with conflict in Europe couldn’t understand how the correspondent felt it wasn’t a problem did not relies that with 30 less platforms this would put more pressure on the other Typhoons with upgrade .Sure Trench 1 Typhoons would be missed against Migs -and Flankers… Read more »

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Jim…. never replies to anyone’s Replies mate…… He much prefers to just type stuff that is incorrect or just plainly devoid of facts…..

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

I reply to almost everyone, if you write sense I’ll reply.

Frank
Frank
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I did write sense, I replied to your “Expanding Escort Fleet” comment giving some detail and reasons why it was wrong. I also replied to your “640 Nuclear Warheads” comment… no answer again…. It’s a common trend, You write something wildly inaccurate, people question it (not just me) you don’t reply. 🤔

Meirion X
Meirion X
25 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Is Jim really x on NL?
Will he complain a lot to site Admin, if you say something about him, just like x did, getting someone bared from replying to him? Was x involved in boat show site, and used another name originally as of Steve Taylor?

Last edited 25 days ago by Meirion X
farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Keu Aero knocked out an article 2 years ago which explains some of the reasons: In March 2021, the UK announced plans to retire the RAF’s fleet of Tranche 1 Eurofighters by 2025. Jon Lake explores the decision to prematurely withdraw roughly one quarter of the air arm’s Typhoon force and the ramifications this will bring. The UK is planning to retire its Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoons in 2025, leaving it with just 67 Tranche 2 and 40 Tranche 3 aircraft. These are supposed to enable a full force of seven frontline squadrons to serve through to 2040 – and… Read more »

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Good summation but BAE gave evidence stating that they could be upgraded but the MOD had never asked for a price. So clearly the MOD has never had any intention of upgrading them despite rhetoric. As you say Spain has carried out an upgrade. Clearly we don’t have the budget to operate more than 7 squadrons but just keeping the 30 back in a reserve would be worth it even if it took a year to reactivate. In less than a year we managed to get SU24 firing stormshadow. Shows what can be done with old aircraft if there is… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Totally agree 🍺

DaveyB
DaveyB
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Italy have done the same with their Tranche 1s.

Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Thanks for post mate 👍

DaveyB
DaveyB
30 days ago
Reply to  farouk

The last paragraph is BS. All Typhoons were upgraded with Mode 5 IFF years ago. They also all have the ADS-B collision awareness system. Which is now a EU regulation to have and operate. Though they can switch it off for operational reasons. Sadly the real reason why the Tranche 1s are being canned is a money saving exercise. The Tranche 1s have only used 35 to 40% of their flight lives. Though compared to the Tranche 2 and 3s, they have been ragged. As they are the jets earmarked for air displays. A big issue is that Tranche 1s… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
30 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

This has probably been asked before but can the UK consider giving these 40 T1s to Ukraine? They’d be bloody useful right now. Easier said than done*and big money but would be a huge gesture and surely not impossible? Is the UK going to order any replacements pre Tempest or upgrade more than the 40 to T2/3 to T4? 🇬🇧 🇺🇦

Last edited 30 days ago by Quentin D63
Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

For sure the Ukrainians would find some use MiG killer 🇺🇦 for Typhoon Replacement guess we’ll have to make do has ever 👍

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

BAE says they can be upgraded but they have never asked for a price, Spain has been upgrading T1 as well to last to 2040. Even not upgraded they would be worth having just in reserve.

Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Reserve sounds good to me but we’re talking about HMG it’s something that they won’t do like back in the old days 😞

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

the fleet is not expanding though. The 13 ships ordered replace the 13 frigates. Granted that number has dropped but it was never intended to.

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Yes but their is a hot production line in Rosyth that will run out of work in 6 years and their is a plan all be it funded to procure 5 more, so as I said their is a prospect for our escort fleet to increase.

Frank
Frank
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

“There is a plan albeit funded” …. There might be a plan but it’s certainly not funded………. so far it’s just words and proposals. in the meantime the escort fleet will diminish and that’s not including the latest announcements regarding out of service dates of T45.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

No. I suggest that a capability gap would be better.

Use the money on another T26.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

? Uncertain whether or not you are being facetious. The funds associated w/ the PGMU mod for the four additional candidate T-23 frigates, may not even qualify as a down payment on an additional T-31, let alone T-26. 🤔😳

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I’m being serious.

We need a B3 T26*4

We have a budget announcement coming up where we will get pre-election tax cuts. What this nation needs are more frigates.

T23s are clapped and 4+ years to return one to sea is a joke.

Gap the capability, because you have to admit we are past masters at that and invest in the future while giving down time to sailors and building up a pipeline of new entrants.

I apologise if you understood my comments to be anything other than serious.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Agree completely w/ proposition that additional T-26s would be beneficial for RN, provided funding is available for construction, O&M and an increase in personnel for RN. Do you believe next government will increase defence expenditures to 2.5-3.0% of GDP?

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Daniele will kill me:

No, the next Govt will not increase funding.

However, they are taking hold of a poisoned chalice.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

You do understand that an extra T26 wouldn’t be operational for 12 more years at the earliest, right? That’s three more governments, and three more strategic reviews.

The chances of any money put aside now going towards a frigate for the late 2030s is zero. It would get spent on something else within the next six months, long before you drafted a contract with BAE, much less got the approval to sign it.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

No, I don’t understand why it would take 12 years to build a frigate.

I suggest an element of conflation on your part that builds into a contafactual.

Please resubmit your homework.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

The Type 26 Build has been structured and financed by HM Govt/MOD to take as long as it is taking – any additional orders can be added quite easily,especially with the new build hall if the Govt chooses to do so,which we all know is very unlikely with a new Govt on the horizon..

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

We both agree.

The greatest service this shower of a Govt could do for Defence is order a B3 T26*4

Labour would have to find the money, however, the RN would be on course for fit for purpose.

And B3 could be built in a fraction of the time taken for Glasgow.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Did you watch the Laura Kunsberg with the Chancellor this morning ? The drop in line from him about any spending was a specific need to boost defence but that is impossible until the economy is stronger.
It just isn’t going to happen till inflation and BOE interest rates come down.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Hi Rodders

Yes, I heard that and Labour have the same old mantra and yet, electorally Scottish votes around the shipyards would be magnetised towards the Party offering increased ship building.

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Surprisingly it’s not, very few people work in those shipyards and their workforce is very spread out. Rosyth a pretty economically active area and few people near it even know they build ships.

Rosyth does loads of commercial work also.

Maybe a bit different in Govan but that’s deep SNP territory and no amount of ships will change that.

David Barry
David Barry
27 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Thxs for the heads up, Jim.

Jim
Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I would agree,

Meirion X
Meirion X
30 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I am still surprised why did not the USN buy T23 IP in late 90’s to replace the Oliver Hazards, with a larger version of T23 armed with Mk. 41?

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago

About time HMS Darling is returned to sea! PIP was completed in 2022!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Or even HMS Daring a T45…….? HMS Darling is presumably part of the Black Adder class designed by Adml Melchett? I think it is, by all accounts, missing a critical bit…..that was STOROB’d…..now the intention is to operate the T45’s hard there are not enough of that part to go round. That was not such a problem with most of them on the wall or in PiP but now they are emerging from PiP this does seem to be an issue. There was a discussion on NL about this a few weeks back. Although, at a wild guess, I would… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago

So will the matelots on HMS Daring, call each other, darling? 🤣

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Only if they are daring.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

And caring and willing to…

Sharing…. 3 months at sea and all that.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago

😂😂

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

She is now alongside the Fountain Rd jetty in Pompey. Can’t be long now.
She looks a real Darling…. 😎

Meirion X
Meirion X
25 days ago
Reply to  Frank

😇👍

Nevis
Nevis
1 month ago

Does HMS St Albans have NSM fitted?

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Nevis

No, but original round tubes have been removed. Just empty space there.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Nevis

She might get the new Organic ASM………. ORGASM some time soon.

Ian M
Ian M
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

🙄

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian M

🙄

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Any further news on Argyll?

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

👍Certainly!
According to Bab’s, it is still undergoing upkeep. Post dry-dock.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Mark P
Mark P
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yeah spot on, that’s my understanding. I think her lack of crew is her issue. Just my thoughts but could they not take five crew from each T23 plus the skeleton crew that was still on HMS Westminster until recently to make up a core crew until she is ready and then some of HMS Kent’s crew transfer over as Kent will be in for quite awhile if she has the PGMU. Probably quite a few floors in my though but just thinking out loud.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
30 days ago
Reply to  Mark P

Drafting cycles dont work like that. You need SQEP people in specific jobs. Some of the people on other units may not be SQEP. You need specific ranks as well. They may not be available. People on the other units may be due shore time or career courses for promotion so they cannot go back to see. Messing with someone’s sea/shore ratio is a Flag Officer level reporting requirement and they absolutely dont like doing it. From experience they would rather gap a billet than do it against someone’s will. ( one volunteer Vs ten pressed men is a good… Read more »

Mark P
Mark P
29 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I was sure it was more difficult than I suggested but your insight opens it up to the true complex task it is to create a new crew. Creating a crew is one thing but creating a happy fully integrated crew is a completely different ball game. Cheers

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Good news, anyone know an uptodate list of the active and reciting frigates ?

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Pardon, reciting frigates? Nonplussed, please elaborate. 🤔

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

You must have come across reciting frigates…it’s what you get when you cross bad typing skills with Apple spellchecker 😂🤣😂

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Britsky on X has posted a fleet status update.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Cheers Paul..I don’t use X unfortunately….sort of me rebelling a bit against social media culture gone to far…

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Revamp hardly covers it. More like a Dr Who regeneration. Anyway, really good news. Kudos all round, not least to Babcock.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Too true.

This stuff isn’t easy to do with a trusty rusty as a starting point. It is a bit like keeping an old car too long in the 1990’s!!

It does get to a point where the amount of resources being sucked away for other key tasks (like building and upgrading newer ships) by patching up old ships becomes a significant part of the calculus.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Quite. Babcock should start a Classic Warship club, bit like a classic car club. I wonder if you can get ships listed like old buildings.
Fair does though, Babcock are digging us out of a hole!

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago

Serious question but now that our T45, T26 etc are all CAD and we have pretty automated pre fab of sub blocks could we move away from refit by labour intensive survey / replace individual sections ? Just cut the sub block out and replace with new ?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I’m not sure how that works with systems or class rules?

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Your comment actually surprises me ….. Surely every refit involves inspection and Remedial work throughout the entire ship ? Replacing individual Sections would equate to almost building an entirely new Ship … surely ?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Not necessarily, but as I understand it certain parts of the lower hulls are more susceptible to sea water damage and rust than others such as the anchor chain stowage. Rather than fabricating and replacing individual plates or sub assemblies on site. Just replace the section with new one, that’s the joy of CAD designs and robotic plasma cutters.
BAe and Babcock certainly have those facilities and I think Appledore do as well.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago

Good too see her back in the Fleet but 4 years for a refit was it a 3 day work week in Guzz dockyard ?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

Hi Tommo, From what I have read about the T23 refits every time they lifted a cover or piece of equipment they found issues especially with rust. It sounds as if some of the ships are returning to service with large parts of their hull plating being replaced. As SB puts it above ‘trusty rusty’… Undertaking such structural work on an old ship is going to be quite a challenge. The trouble is every time they found something they would have had to pause and redo the plans, so lots of surprises equals lots of delays. These ships were only… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I would have hated too see the ” What too do list ” every Monday

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

COVID had a massive impact on refit schedules for obvious reasons during 2020/21

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yes, sorry it seemed so long ago now even national defence work came too a halt thanks China

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

The UK has dropped to 4th in Ukraine aid and wsy below that as percentage of gdp, under half of what Germany has provided. Kinda demstrating the lack of uk reserves. Where is the big order of restock or restock and aid?

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

And where is France on that list? Not even on the distant horizon I bet. I wouldn’t put it past probable that Macron’s lastest nonsense of ‘ Europe sending troops to Ukraine’ ( as if France would contribute lol) was just a smokescreen to get attention away from the the fact that the host nation at Paris conference was supplying Ukraine with FA military aid ( Italy and Spain can also join that club). UK and US have done plenty time for the Euro freeloaders to take up some slack……

Micki
Micki
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

What the UK has to do is to increase military spending instead to spend money in Ukraine, the state of the armed forces is so poor that the country is in high risk, more ships , fighters and tanks are desperately needed, with China and Russia as agressive countries the main task is to reinforce defence, don,t worry Russia is not in possition to attack us but this is for now but better to start to restore the catastrophic situatión for the future as maybe in the médium term they decide together with China the next big war.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Micki

We either fund Ukraine or fight Russia.

Up till recently Ukraine were doing a superb job of mashing up all of Mad Vlad’s equipment.

We just need to get them the shells they have been begging for for two years….

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

And where is France on that list? Not even on the distant horizon I bet. I wouldn’t put it past probable that Macron’s lastest nonsense of ‘ Europe sending troops to Ukraine’ ( as if France would contribute lol) was just a smokescreen to get attention away from the the fact that the host nation at Paris conference was supplying Ukraine with FA military aid ( Italy and Spain can also join that club). UK and US have done plenty time for the Euro freeloaders to take up some slack……

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

That’s fake news, Germany has overtaken us as number two when you add all military and economic aid. If your sighting is as 4th it’s because the EU in the list but the EU is not a country and it’s double counting German aid.

Peter Buxton
Peter Buxton
1 month ago

Bit worried when they carried that 500 kg German bomb down the Torpoint Ferry slipway just before St. Albans set sail.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

Welcome back to the fleet. God knows we need every frigate we can get.
Just out of interest does anyone know what is the life expectancy of a frigate after LIFEX.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

What ever some Penpusher in Whitehall decides given the way the Fleet has been disposed of over the years could be 10yrs could be put up for sale within 5yrs

Meirion X
Meirion X
23 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Hms Northumberland has already had 6 years of use, out of the last LIFEX which ended in 2018.

Last edited 23 days ago by Meirion X
AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

On a side note Italian destroyer Caio Duilio downed 1 Iranian/Houthi drone.

The interesting part is that being said it was destroyed by the 76mm gun, 6km from the ship with 7-8 rounds.

Last edited 1 month ago by AlexS
AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

6 rounds (non guided) , destroyed 4 km away, 1300ft altitude.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Can’t say I’m surprised the Italians never liked CIWS so they put their money into advanced 76mm super fast guns and some very interesting ammunition such as Volcano.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

They had 40 mm Dual Breda Bofors 600rpm in 80’s, but replaced them with 76 due to increase range and the 76mm round is large enough to make it guided.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
30 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

If its slow and coming down your throat its a relatively easy shot for an Oto with few deflections or corrections needed. Starts getting interesting if its speed increases, it does course corrections, altitude changes and it’s a crossing target…but thats the same for all gun/CIWS systems

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
30 days ago

All that under used space atop the hangar with a huge arc of fire and nothing there! Room for Phalanx, 40mm, Dragonfire?

Meirion X
Meirion X
25 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It will depend if the hanger roof can take that extra top-weight?
The roof may require reinforcement.
The Type 23 Frigate’s beam of 16.1m, is relatively narrow, so will limit what top-weight a frigate of this class can carry.
They were designed to move quite quickly at over 28 knots.

Last edited 25 days ago by Meirion X
Angus
Angus
29 days ago

Great to see her back to sea, she was a good ship before and always delivered what ever was asked of her. I’m she will for the remaining of her service. 😎

David Barry
David Barry
27 days ago

So, a 2p cut in national insurance worth £450/year when Northern train driver I was speaking to yesterday has seen her mortgage go up by 100’s/month, she wasn’t impressed.

£8Bn left in the war chest and plenty in total to have had more T26 B3.

Cons, the party of Defence.