129 crew members from Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster have moved back on board the ship following a two year overhaul in Devonport.

Known as the ‘Red Rose’, HMS Lancaster – whose sponsor is Her Majesty The Queen in her role as Duke of Lancaster – has undergone extensive upgrades mirroring the major changes across the frigate flotilla, such as the new Artisan 3D radar, improved navigational radar and new-generation Sea Ceptor missile system as the ship’s shield against air attack, say the Royal Navy in a news release.

“The Ship is now moving onto the next major milestone of her Ready For Sea Date (RFSD) which will see the ship sail back into her home Port of Portsmouth during December. After RFSD Lancaster will then enter the trials phase where all of the systems onboard are tested to ensure they operate and function correctly in order to provide the Commanding Officer maximum Operational Capability.”


At a ceremony held alongside in Devonport Lt Cdr Mike Bray, who is the Senior Naval Officer and Weapons Engineering Officer said:

“I would like to personally thank all of HMS Lancaster Ship’s Company who have worked tirelessly to achieve the move on board today. Everyone standing here has made this achievable and without all the hard work and effort we would not be moving onboard which is a major achievement and the effort required to make this happen should not be underestimated. We now look to the future and RFSD in December, this again will throw up challenges as we recommission equipment that has been dormant for three to four years.

But with the continued drive I know HMS Lancaster Ships Company will make this happen and we will sail back into our home port of Portsmouth, under our own power, for the first time in nearly four years in time for a well-deserved Christmas Leave.”

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God bless Her Majesty the Queen, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Man and Duke of Normandy.


HMS Lancaster are planned to be decommissioned in 2024, only 5 years after coming out of the LIFEX. I guess she can make a good sales to, say, Brazil (who have just decommissioned Niteroi and another Corvette = suffering lack of money) or even Chili (to replace their Type-22?).

Vincent Perry

Mike was cpo of section when a baby omg, now I’m a subby lol how the world moves one


Looks like she had her Harpoon removed.


i don’t expect her to be operational until acceptance at FOST

Dan Hamer

Nope. Framework still there


She would have landed all of her missile/torp fit before going into refit.

Mr Bell

Surely the removal of the sea wolf tracking and guidance units from the roof of the hangar as well as the anti jamming scatter shielding should mean that there is top weight for a CIWS atop the hangar roof?
There should be some top weight to play with. Definetly space for such a weapons fit now sea ceptor installed.


Sea ceptor still needs aerials. The domes on the bridge roof and hangar are the data link aerials. It won’t work without them.
The fences on the roof where to help stop multi path effects from the 911 trackers when tracking low level targets.
As I have said before the Hangar roof is as bad a place as you can think of for a CIWS and anyway why bother with one. Ceptor is more than good enough.


As a point of discussion, I’m sure Sea Ceptor can work just fine without the PDLTs. CAMM-M is fully active, and will happily engage a target. The uplink clearly helps with the longer range shots, providing mid course updates, but the missile is pretty smart on it’s own.


Mr Bell, it could be possible, the CIWS in the configuration for the RN is about 6.5 metric tons, the type 911 duel band tracking radar is 1.725 metric tons above deck and 2.2 metric tons below deck.
With that it looks like the hanger and/or the bridge roof would need to be strenghtend to take the weight.


So you provide the 440v power supply and the sea water. Cooling for the mount. You strengthen the deck You find somewhere for the Local Control Consol You also have enough space in the spares store rooms for a full spares outfit for when you get a defect. You do the nav arc calculations and put additional ballast in for the extra topweigh You accept that when it fires it is going to FOD the flight deck and wreck the helo if its on deck Next question. Where do you want to put the ammo for a CIWS? The margin… Read more »


Gunbuster, thanks for that, so much for a stand alone plug and play system. It is a lot more intergrated than it appears to be.
I am as are many people still trying to understand why it is that RN ships in comparision with warships of other nations and on a comparable hull tonnage seem to be more heavily armed.


A T23 is well armed. 4.5 Gun with a couple of hundred rounds of 4.5 in the magazine. Sea ceptor 32 VL rounds 8 x Harpoon 2x 30mm with a couple of thousand rounds 7.62 Mini Gun and GMPG, 50 cal and all the bullets for those. Plenty of Stingray Torpedo s for Tube and Helo launch. Depth Charge Mk11 mod 3 Sea Gnat Chaff and flare system DLF decoys Torpedo decoys A Helo that will (soon?) be armed up with Missiles. Lots of weapon mounts are all well and good but you need maintainers to fix them if/when they… Read more »


Richmond’s crew also moved back on board recently, as she too is nearing the end of refit in Devonport. It’s good to see they’re both closer to rejoining the fleet.


To the uninitiated 2 years sounds like a long time. Does that not give the ship a fair amount of service life? Does the hull matter so much as the new systems? I read that the USN is considering using current hulls but with modern tech. Is that not the way for the RN to go in an age of tight budgets and Sino-Russian expansion? Iterative ship design + new tech? All non-rhetorical questions.

Paul T

liamski – All the Type 23 hulls undergoing these major refits have had a thorough investigation, from what has been reported there has been places where sections have had to be replaced.


Liamski, she was in a real bad state in guzz, almost constantly listing due to a knackered hull letting water in, she was also tied up alongside in pompey for years before this, at one point the navy weren’t even sure was able to actually complete the journey down to Plymouth via tug.

Paul T

Combat_wombat – wasn’t that the case with HMS Iron Duke rather than HMS Lancaster ?.


Paul T Both suffered form a shitty hull, lancaster alongside in guzz was showing a list, I used to work in the yard when she was tied up alongside before she went in for refit and she was in a bad way.


Always baffled me that they weren’t fitted with CIWS from the get go, especially after it being a key lesson learnt from the Falklands. Yes sea viper/ceptor is meant to be good, but the whole idea of layered defence is you do not rely on any one system. However too late in their life for that to change. The crew rotation might annoy/frustrate the old guard as they are used to calling a ship a home, but over time with new sailors i think it will be a positive for the navy. With so few hulls and so many ‘standing… Read more »


Believe me they were rotten to the core.


Errmm…. who or what ?


The hull and superstructure and decks basically the whole ship was rotten there were hundreds of separate inserts not withstanding inserts for shipping routes it is now a patchwork quilt of steel plates especially below the water line,all of the 23’s are in the same state of repair.


Wow – that sounds terrible.


The T23s coming out of refit now have had steel renewal done in various locations. Lanc had well over 120 inserts done. Its not that big a thing. Commercial shipping gets steel renewed and inserts done all the time. Between 20 to 400 tonnes of steel renewal is not unusual for a tanker or container ship every 5 years and the owner would not bat an eyelid at it. The major issue with the T23 is the margin. There is not any left to play with. The Hull size limits what you can do regarding upgrades hence the T26 will… Read more »


120 where did you get that number from take it from me it was at least 3 times that.

James M

In Gunbuster’s defence, almost 400 IS well over 120…


Gunbuster, thanks as ever for an informed and detailed response. If the problem with rolling on the SLEP 23’s for another few years is indeed margin for expansion rather than the state of the hull, how in your opinion does that bode for the T31 ?

Paul T

From what I know the Type 31 are not supposed to have Mid-Life updates, once they have reached a certain point they are supposed to be sold on.

Steve Barners

HMS Lancaster form up on the flight deck for ceremonial colours.