The long laid-up Type 23 Frigate has now left the fleet leaving the Royal Navy with 12 frigates.

The information came to light in a response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons.

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded to a question about ship availability and stated:

“Twelve Type 23 frigates are included as HMS MONMOUTH left Royal Navy service on 30 June 2021.”

The frigate was prepared to go into refit in early 2019 whilst her ship’s company became the second crew of sister ship HMS Montrose which is forward-deployed to Bahrain and requires crews to rotate in and out as the vessel itself isn’t coming home until next year.

By the end of 2020 the ship was reported to have been stripped of weapons and sensors and laid up. In March this year it was announced that Monmouth as well as sister ship Montrose would be decommissioned earlier than planned as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Integrated Review.

“The Royal Navy will focus investment on improving the sustainability, lethality and availability of the fleet and delivering a more modern, high tech and automated Navy. To enable this, the Royal Navy will retire legacy capabilities including two of our oldest T23 frigates.”

We reported at the time that two of the oldest Type 23 Frigates were to be retired earlier than previously planned in order to fund other projects.

Two frigates to be scrapped early

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Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago

As we know from Parliamentary questions the average running costs of a Type 23 are a mere £11 million a year.
It is totally scandalous to reduce the escort fleet to just 17 vessels.
I can understand crew shortages making a couple of T23s undeployable, but to remove them from service like this is risky.
Once again HMG is totally complacent.
The only other thing I can think of is they are being prepared to be sold the the Greeks.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

I’d also include the cost of the “planned” upgrades, granted they were meant to have taken place in 2019….

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago

Risky?
Why?
There was much hullabaloo when Sea Harrier, CVS and Ocean where paid off and much gnashing of teeth with regards to capability gaps and risks.

In the end the decision and risk was justified and well managed with the RN able to function without those assets being on the books.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The resultant capability gaps were accepted as a cost-cutting measure. This was a risky gamble, not a managed, risk-balanced decision. The fact that we got away with it once doesn’t mean it’s good practice. When playing Russian roulette the fact that the first shot got off safely is little comfort for the next.

James
James
1 month ago

How is HMG totally complacent by replacing old worn out assets with a much ramped up building plan to replace them?

Its also hardly risky when its been laid up for two years with no weapons or systems on it is it? What use would it be if a war broke out? Probably get a T26 into service quicker than refitting it out!

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago
Reply to  James

It wasn’t that long ago a Norwegian frigate sank. If the RN loses a ship for whatever reason the number of escorts will fall even further.
It is totally irresponsible to not keep the ship in service until the replacement is ready. Type 26 isn’t even in the water let alone having been worked up.
The article clearly states systems and weapons have now been removed.

Again the running costs are just £11 million year, probably way less to keep her in a semi-ready state with a skeleton crew.

Callum
Callum
1 month ago

The average running costs are £11 million a year. That’s the cost of all the ships added up then divided between them, not how much it would cost to keep Monmouth fit for combat. She needs a major refit that isn’t financially viable. As the article and plenty of others keep saying, Monmouth is already a hulk. She’s already stripped of major kit, meaning she’s of no use as a warship and little remaining use as a reserve or source of spares. Cutting a ship that is for all intents and purposes already retired isn’t risky or a gamble, it’s… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  James

The building plan is not being ramped up, far from it. She’s stripped in order to speed up the Lifex process after which she would emerge with new engines, sensors and weapons, and be more than capable of plugging the gap until the new hulls eventually appear.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

How is it far from being ramped up exactly. Second batch T26 ordered, first T26 coming along quicker than expected, T31 production starting this year with most the supply chain already in place. T32 announced in principle and studies starting on T45 replacement, it very much is being ramped up compared to the last couple of decades.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago

The 2 oldest are at a disadvantage in that very much like HMS Ocean they are maxed out suppliable power. and would need a Generator upgrade to bring in line with the power supplies of the fleet. that cost like re-engining a type 45 makes it not worthwhile.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

What would make a frigate have a need for more electrical power now than when first commissioned?

Pixel Person
Pixel Person
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The internet, WiFi, Bluetooth …

Pablo
Pablo
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Technology!!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

as Thedoen, son of Thengel would say.

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John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

It’s no great surprise really, I don’t have a particular issue with this considering the ships material state.

I would rather they concentrate on ensuring the active ships are properly maintained and crewed, while we await T26 and T31.

Both build programs are gathering pace and personnel numbers are steadily increasing, so glass half full chaps…

We have to avoid having to carry out expensive hull rebuild programs on tied hulls in the future. A steady RN build programme, allowing ships to be retired at 30, is the way forward.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’d echo that.

Get rid of the old tired stuff and focus the funds on the new state of the art stuff.

What would you rather fund – trying to keep two knackered frigates in service or Ceptor for T45 or the Mk41 VLS weapons program for T26 or IAShM??

IRL there are choices. And often the wise choice is to move on. With funding allocated for 5 x BII T26 and 5 x T31 in contract: RN will be in a good place frigate wise. I’d rather the money was spend making T26 & T31 as good as possible.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

Fair point. Easy to be cynical after past experiences, but there is a rational point to be made in the argument too one can accept.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Absolutely, the whole structure of the fleet has now shifted. Carrier Strike is now a reality and the absolute priority, the often suggested here, Sea Ceptor upgrade for the T45 is ‘exactly’ where the money should go, not trying to raise Lazarus from the dead! We need 4 (two T45 two T23) for the active Carrier, plus SSBN protection. That leaves the odd escort for other other duties, on occasion, as hull numbers and crew rest allow. Anything else will have to be left to Allied nations to pick up the slack, until the fleet regains its escort numbers and… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, I agree, maintaining a steady drum beat is key to the future of the RN. If we have two classes of ship in build, which seems to be the way things are going, and can maintain a commissioning rate of one every 12 to 15 months the fleet will settle at: Maximum (30 year life / 12 month drum beat) – 30 escorts Optimum (25 year life / 12 month drum beat) – 25 escorts Minimum (20 year life / 15 month drum beat) – 16 escorts Given the target of 24 escorts what I have called the… Read more »

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago

End of an era, this ship has served us well

CAM
CAM
1 month ago

This is quite ridiculous. We only have 1 available destroyer (which is with the carrier strike group) and we are having our frigate fleet cut for a few. Let me once again say that the government must acquire more escorts and that the type 26 programme needs to be sped up.
People might say that there’s not enough money but there would be if this was a priority. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Last edited 1 month ago by CAM
James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  CAM

Thats exactly why they are building ships at the rate they are and hopefully will continue to do so, takes time but spend the money on the new capable stuff with many new capabilities than wasting it on hulls which are 25+ years old.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  CAM

Cam,

there are 8 type 26’s and 5 type 31’s on the way…. By the time the money and effort is spent/wasted on refitting HMS Monmouth, the first of the new builds will be entering service. I’d much rather have a brand new build in service than a worn out type 23 eking out a few more years…

CAM
CAM
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

I’m not disagreeing with that, but I am trying to say that if BAE produces 1 type 26 per year (which would be good), the project could be complete by summer 2034 rather than not even having the first one in service till 2027. If you look at other countries like Taiwan for example, they have been able to build an LPD in roughly 2 years and it is scheduled to be handed over already to the Taiwanese navy next year. Japan is the same, it has taken only 3 years for them to build and commission a destroyer. I’m… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by CAM
andyreeves
andyreeves
6 days ago
Reply to  CAM

it’s a shame we compare so poorly with other nations in building rates the size of the Japanese navy is impressive and shows what benefits the quality of the industry infratructure.all in all we can and should be up the size ranking where we are bigger than than those pesky frenchies!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago

HMG may deserve stick for this but I see this more as a legacy from previous governments that were totally apathetic to the Armed Forces who delayed ordering replacement vessels in time

James
James
1 month ago

Personally I think its a very sensible decision and HMG have done the right thing at the right time.

andyreeves
andyreeves
6 days ago

the MOD is unfit for purpose turn off the lights lock the dóors and start again. do the same with the admiralty which get missed when blame for the naval issues see light of day.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago

the admiralty are as much to blame as The Mod we blame parliament and the treasury but the admiralty with its we want this we want that attitude that screws much of the issues too many old duffers in the way of progress

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

Shame to see these well armed frigates go,
frustrating to know they easily outgun their type 31 replacements.

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago

Type 31 will have Sea Ceptor, a suitable main gun and carry a Lynx or Merlin. Honestly what more do you want it to have? T31 is for general purpose duties, not high end war fighting.
Look at the RN in 82, lots of cheap and cheerful frigates in the fleet.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

What more do I want ? Anti ship missiles and sonar would good.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago

single anti submarintúbesand more 30mm cannón cross decked from retiring t23’s

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago

Yep Leander class AIR seawall SURFACE 4.5 mj 6 Exocet SUB SURFACE towed array Ikara mortar mk 10 most versatile frigate program conceived by the MOD

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago

if Portsmouth, back Inn the days of hot rivets built the world’s first battleship in 12 mónths why are we so slow nowadays with all the cutting edge technology we have now are the design to difficult? is it the lack of skilled workérs? what is it maybe it’s just poor management

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

why do other navies couNT Corvettes and missile/torpedo boats as front line assets in their ínventories ii’d like single tube torpedo mounts on the archers and designate them as motor torpedo boats

My View
My View
1 month ago

Type 31’s are intended as GP frigates. Sonar would be a bonus but not critical. 5 of the 13 Type 23’s do not carry sonar. Anti ship missiles again a bonus but not critical for a GP frigate role. Still we might see them installed later on. Don’t forget we have 6 modern Type 45 destroyers undergoing big refits and will upgrade their firepower in the near future. Also 8 modern Type 26 ASW frigates that are decently fitted out with sea ceptor, Mk 41 cells, great sonar and that can carry two Wildcats. An exciting time for the RN… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  My View

I think all the type 23 still have there hull mounted 2050 sonar but the oldest 5 don’t do towed array anymore. Or 4 now soon to be three. That will leave the slightly older Argyll, iron duke and Lancaster. They have had refits

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  My View

I think T26 might be able to carry up to three Wildcat. I know they can carry two Merlin airframes, providing the mission bay area is configured accordingly (though I’d hate to be the one to organise rotating them!).

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago
Reply to  My View

fitted fo but not with is a phrase we should not needto use if íts designed for something it should be fitted.

andy
andy
1 month ago

sad to see them go but not much use without weapon systems and it just sitting there, which will have still cost money just to make sure it was still water tight, after all we don’t want any embarrassment of a ship sinking in dock, like the type 42 Argentina let go to ruin…spend the money where it’s needed and keep on track with all the new builds

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

Nothing to see here. We all knew escort numbers would drop in the short-term while the T26 and T31 work gets going. It makes little sense throwing money at a refit that will give little back. Time to pay her off and say thanks.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

More good descision making by the RN, with an eye to the future. Short term loss for long term gain, the bloody Army could learn a lot from the way the RN has been doing stuff for the last 5 years or so.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Airborne,

Hasn’t HMG cut the army back once or even twice every decade since the end of the Korean War – manpower and platforms? Methinks the pruning was over-zealous in the army.

Last edited 1 month ago by Graham Moore
Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agreed, the army is seen as having the most “fat” to trim, but as we have seen it’s more to do with various financial defence reviews than real innovation or new capabilities. But recently the Army has partly been responsible for its own woes and we need to rethink the Army’s ORBAT and future uses and intentions. Cheers mate.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

more Gurkhas should have beenselected and give the unlucky applicants a choice of the R.N maybe call a type 31 H.ms gurkha

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

tróuble being that the long term gain takes far too long

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

the spelling and grammar on this site is awwful did anyone here actually go to school?!!

David
David
1 month ago

The party of defence should have announced that she’d been withdrawn, after all, they had announced they would.

However, they let it slide under the radar hoping no one would notice that they hsve dropped the frigate force in reality – that is my objection to this Govt.

Sorry chaps but the balloon that is the Cons mantra of ‘strong on defence’ needs to be burst.

Callum
Callum
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Uh huh. So the fact that they’re the first government in decades planning an increase in escort numbers and upgunning existing warships doesn’t matter to you I take it?

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago

Ah well we’ve still got the Gosport Ferry which should in practice be capable of Laying Mines , yeah right !!!!! The Monmouth If not put up the Trott Sold or razorbladed could replace the Bristol as CCF +SCC Harbour training Vessel along side Whale Island and her Close range weapons be installed into a C130 airframe for added umf, and close air support .I do believe that the People engaged with these Threads could run the MOD better than your average Lunchan voucher Civil Servant . I just hope that their reading this ,instead of TikTok

Bernard Harrison
Bernard Harrison
1 month ago

Another cutback. Now too small to even be called a police force.

Ian Smith
Ian Smith
1 month ago

People ought to be aware that a while ago when the Iranians held up tanker the Royal Navy only had 1 type 23 in the area. Reports in the uk listed it as one of 13 type 23’s yet the same weekend I counted 10 type 23’s in various states of repair in Devonport dockyard including the Monmouth so in reality we only had 3 type 23’s at sea anywhere in the World at that time. The Royal Navy is in dire straits no matter what the Government says.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

No surprises here. We all knew it was coming, and we know Montrose will follow soon. HMS Blythe has been earmarked as one of the first of our remaining MCMs to decommission as well. Presumably, she’ll head to Ukraine? I suspect the decommissioning of two 23s is a result of a couple of things: 1). The RN can provide greater availability despite the loss of two hulls. This will only improve as the Type 45s go through their upgrades and Dauntless/Daring come out of their long periods of hibernation. 2). I would imagine HMG has basically raised the case that… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

My take on the situation is that the LIFEX Programme was a Fixed Price Contract with Babcock’s – some Ships needed more work done to them than originally envisaged ( HMS’s Lancaster and Iron Duke for example ) so by the time Monmouth joined the que there was literally no Money left to carry out the work,and due to it’s age there was no point raising extra Funds to do so,plus you benefit from savings in Running costs and Crew Availability so a sort of win-win for all concerned.

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago

Discarding Monmouth is a very foolish decision, sadly typical of the MOD & RN today. She would have been the last 23 to undergo lifex including new engines, emerging from refit in about 3-4 years time as a fresh and capable asset able to help plug the gap until the new hulls which are being built at a painfully slow pace eventually appear. That fresh asset will no longer be available at a time when it will be badly needed. Monmouth, like Lancaster, Portland and Iron Duke before her, has been laid up and stripped in order to save time… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Couldnt disagree more, fitting the latest systems to a very old ship would only then need to remove them later to fit to a new ship doubling the cost of said systems in manpower costs and also potentially delaying one of the new ships coming online.

Whats the cost per ship of the LIFEX updates, 50 million ish? Thats a fair old chunk that would be massively better spent on getting new hulls in the water with much more capabilities.