HMS Lancaster entered a period of “extended readiness” in Portsmouth in 2017.
Many feared the vessel would be paid off and disposed of at the time, however, she received a refit that finished in 2019 and it included the fitting of the Artisan 3D radar, Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles and strengthening the backbone of the ship.
The Type 23 Frigate arrived back in HMNB Portsmouth, in December 2019.
Fears that the vessel would spend the rest of her career tied up alongside before being disposed of were circulating widely in 2017. The fears were calmed however in the form of a response to a written parliamentary question asked by Nicholas Soames (then MP for Mid Sussex) and answered by the then Secretary of State for Defence. Harriett Baldwin said:
“On current plans, the refit for HMS LANCASTER will commence in mid-2017. She is presently alongside in Portsmouth and is maintained with a minimal ship’s company until her refit.”
According to the Royal Navy in a news release here:
“A month after celebrating her 30th birthday, The Queen’s Frigate has proved herself ready to resume UK defence operations after a refit giving her the latest in Royal Navy hardware. 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 Duke class frigates.
These include the Artisan 3D radar, improved navigational radar and the new-generation Sea Ceptor missile system to protect herself any other vessels in her convoy or strike group from air attacks. What was once known as a warship’s Fleet Date Inspection has been renamed and the process adjusted but the outcome is the same; the Royal Navy can now call upon another general purpose frigate.”
Commanding Officer, Commander Will Blackett, said:
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been maintaining our focus on bringing Lancaster back to readiness so that we can play our part in Royal Navy operations again. My crew have done brilliantly well getting us to this point but there is still a lot of hard work to get through. HMS Lancaster has been a fabulous asset to the nation across three decades and our goal is to make these final years of her service the finest of all.”