Type 23 Frigate HMS Portland earlier hosted a ceremony at Devonport to mark her return to the Royal Navy fleet after an extensive refurbishment and upgrade.

According to a Royal Navy news release that can be found here, the Type 23’s overhaul was completed by Babcock International at the dockyard and now “the warship looks toward front-line operations once more”.

“Commissioned in 2001, the Royal Navy’s second-youngest frigate has been busy since emerging from Devonport’s Frigate Support Centre late last year. 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 River Tamar waterfront.

The ship is the first  of her class to have her electric propulsion motors removed, rewired and replaced, while the Sea Wolf missile system has been ripped out and Sea Ceptor installed in its place. The 997 surveillance and 1084 navigational radars have been added too, plus the new to Royal Navy 2150 hull mounted sonar to sharpen her anti-submarine warfare teeth. For good measure, machinery and IT systems on board have also been overhauled, as well as mess decks redesigned from their original 1980s layouts, meeting the needs and expectations of today’s sailors.”

Commander Surface Flotilla, Commodore Tim Neild, was quoted as saying:

“It is really great to be with you on this rather auspicious occasion, in which we herald a new dawn in the history of HMS Portland. In her 20 years of service she has steamed nearly half a million miles, and delivered world-class anti-submarine warfare operations, alongside many of our key partners and allies. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of you for the hard work and pride which you have all poured into every aspect of the delivery of HMS Portland, throughout her extensive refit.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
84 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kevvo
Kevvo
4 days ago

Second youngest frigate and 20 years old. Says a lot about surface vessel procurement this century.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago
Reply to  Kevvo

Hi Kevvo,

Says a lot about defence procurement. Army has not managed to deliver a single armoured vehicle to the front line since 1997 according the the House Select Committee..!

But at least Portland is back with lots of new and upgraded kit, so good news.

Cheers CR

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Certainly is CR, she’s a great asset to the fleet. The Army procurement programme is in total disarray and getting worse, but the RN does seem to be a service with a plan and an impressive array of fleet renewal projects underway.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes the present Navy plan needs to be introduced in the other services to ensure ongoing commitments can be given to suppliers and they can plan and invest in the future rather than wait hopefully with no clear predictable timeline that they may get an order as and when the powers that be decide to stop extending the life of increasingly obsolete gear. Sadly even if they do, it will be too late to save much of our National defence industry but I guess it will at least help foreign companies and owners to sustain and invest here which is… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well not quite…….Monmouth was also due to undergo a full Lifex and emerge as a major asset to the fleet at a time when she would be badly needed, but……instead she’s been towed to pompey for destoring and scrapping. The RN is also looking to sell Montrose, once again at a time when she’s badly needed, so RN does not always get it right, indeed it still hasn’t sorted an interim replacement for Harpoon…..

James
James
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Monmouth is already 30 years old and isnt it being gifted to Greece not scrapped?

Montrose isnt much younger, I dont disagree with removing the oldest ships in class first for them to be replaced by the first build T26’s, it makes sense.

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Isnt foxhound and those yank beasts armoured?

Matt C
Matt C
4 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Yes for the purpose of mainstream media reporting on Taliban panic, no for any useful definition of the word.

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
16 minutes ago
Reply to  Matt C

if it can float and fight why withdraw it without another hull going into the water?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thought Trojan, Titan and Terrier came after that date??

Agree with the overall gist though regards armour.

Mike
Mike
2 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Incorrect. “Armoured” vehicles procured by the Army since 1997 include but are not limited too;

Trojan, Titan, Terrier, Panther, Foxhound, Husky, Jackal, Ridgeback, Warthog, Mastiff, Coyote. All are armoured to some extent.

It is just the larger, and far more complex platforms that have been the issue, which is what I believe the report references.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 days ago
Reply to  Kevvo

We have just brought two 70 thousand tonne aircraft carriers into service.

Frank62
Frank62
3 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Definately a positive. Just shows how poor MOD/RN are by reaching the lowest number of escorts in over 100 years(just 17 shortly) just when we need plenty available to cover 2 carriers & all the other taskings we have to use RFAs & OPVs for instead. Allies are great of course, but they can’t always be relied upon.

Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

To be fair, we are building 18 odd new frigates, yes the 31s are underarmed but better than nothing atall.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

We’re only building 13 new frigates as things stand – 8 x Type 26 and 5 x Type 31, the latter 5 don’t compare to the existing older Type 23 and have no clear purpose for existence other than as oversized OPVs masquerading as a Frigate for publicity purposes. Capabilities are steadily being reduced within the RN.

Steve R
Steve R
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I think he’s also referring to the Type 32s.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

I don’t believe a design actually exists for the fabled Type 32, let alone any kind of build schedule? If indeed it ever appears as a genuine proposal, and costings are agreed, you won’t see steel cut until well into the 2030s, if then.

Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I was including 32s. Bozo Boris should sign contracts ASAP so we can’t back down on the 32s.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The Type 32s don’t even exist on paper yet. No orders will be signed for a good few years until the initial design has been completed and whichever government is in power argues over costings and capabilities.
I suspect we’re looking at a follow on order for an upgraded Type 31 – Babcock haven’t gone to the time and expense of building their ‘Frigate Factory’ for nothing, although they are hoping for Foreign orders that could be built in the UK……

Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The lifex facility in Plymouth won’t hold the new frigates is that right?, So Rosyth could be the new place.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The centre dock at the Frigate refit complex is longer and could accommodate a Type 31 the other two could be lengthened. Babcock own the facility so I imagine that’s already under consideration. Bearing in mind we’ll only have 5, its unlikely more than one will need a major refit in drydock at once. Other drydocks are available at Devonport if required Portsmouth has no undercover Drydocks…

Last edited 3 days ago by Paul42
David Barry
David Barry
2 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Why do people even listen to what De piffle even says? Lost.

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
10 minutes ago
Reply to  Reaper

boris will be at a checkout in asda somewhere by then

Steve R
Steve R
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

No, there currently isn’t a design and to be honest I think it will just be another 5 Type 31s. Type 31, batch 2 if you will.

Anything else, in my opinion, is a waste of money in designing an entirely new type of ship and all those associated costs and logistics.

Perhaps the Type 32 should be some up-gunned Type 31s, or Type 31s capable of launching and operating various drones, but should still be a Type 31.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

A Type 31 kitted out in the same manner as an Ivor Hundfelt? Complete with Mk41 vls perhaps….

Steve R
Steve R
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Even just double the number of Sea Ceptors to 24 and add 8 of whatever interim anti-ship missile to a pair of canister launchers bolted onto the deck to give some offensive capability for relatively low cost.

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
8 minutes ago
Reply to  Steve R

and a row of lasers.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Yes I think your probably correct. Let’s be honest the T32 is a replacement for the manned mine warfare vessels, yes the capability is going to be via new unmanned capability but they will still need a mother ship ( for strategic movement, security and maintenance). So I would imagine the will be a T31 focused on being a mothership for mine warfare and other drones. After all the T31 although lightly armed and a light frigate, the hull itself is in no way a light frigate hull ( the RN did play a blinder with the T31 and got… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Jonathan
Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

I was Steve.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Paul remember the T31 is actually a full fat escort hull, it’s just the present weapon fit that’s a bit low end. Clearly the T31 as a mature vessel is going to be nothing like the light frigate capabilities on the initial version. I think you could state it’s a oversized OPV if the RN had gone down some of the offerings, instead what they have is an under equipped but modern escort hull that can act as a blank canvas over the next 30 years.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Ah, sorry J just seen you’ve already covered my contribution to P42.

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Not quite. The Type 31 will not have a quiet hull/machinery design, so has no use in ASW. If you really want to take advantage of the other opportunities offered for Mk41 vls etc, then yiu need to do it at build. HMG are not going to fork out for very expensive refits later.

Peter S
Peter S
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The Iver Huitfeldts have a hull mounted sonar and Babcock are offering T31 with the same. Even though it is less than optimal, I presume the ships have some ASW capability?

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Will some be built with towed array now that the Bear from the East is once again flexing I don’t think that there is many service Surface personnel that have blue nose certificates now days .The Gap will have to be patrolled again if Putin is intent on building up his submarine fleet

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

SOSUS is still about… New name… New kit… It never really went away.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Good old Bermuda , remember in the 70s having a few drinks with Lads from Maliba and their American friends who were based up on the sub surface listening station

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Dam Creek Norfolk Virginia is the new location. Not exactly the same as Bermuda and I don’t think they will be putting painted crests on the walls.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I wonder if those Crests are still there at Ireland Island or its now some upmarket resort and the prisons been moved?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Any hull with an active sonar and a rotor is an ASW asset. Nothing is going to come close to the type 23 or type 26 matched with a merlin Mk2. We will have 8 ships that are the very best in the world. Sometimes a few extra good general purpose escorts is what you need to cover the gaps. If they can do a bit of ASW a bit of picket work ect it’s all good. Also remember the autonomous vehicles can also do ASW work so a mother ship would not need quieting, it can send off its… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Jonathan
Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Babcock offer a Type 31 with an active sonar, but there is mention of that being included on the RN bargain basement version. It would be a blessing if it was……I note there is now constant mention of 24 x Sea Ceptor as opposed to just 12…….

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
3 minutes ago
Reply to  Jonathan

type 31? i’d rather see a ‘full fat’ frigate than a coastal cutter which its size and strength will be better suited for the addition of a laser system, lets pray the u.k version works and works well could see the abilities of all the R.N vessels improve and give more flexability.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

“have no clear purpose for existence other than as oversized OPVs masquerading as a Frigate for publicity purposes”

I think getting them in the water, with their tonnage and room for expansion, is fine, considering the pressures the budget is currently under.

Weaponry can be added if necessary. If they were higher specced from birth they would not be getting built.

It is what it is and I myself am a supporter of the vessels.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 days ago

I agree with you. They are five good quality large hulls with plenty of top-weight and power margin for growth. It would not take a lot to give them very heavy offensive capabilities such as. – canister mount missiles x8 AShM – insert Mk41 VLS – as per original design Then you have something very heavy duty indeed. Defensively they are very good. Personally I think it is very likely that T32 is indeed B2 T31 but more heavily armed. I also think that T31 may well go into service more heavily armed than a lot of people are making… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 days ago

Yes it’s not going to cost a lot add in more sea ceptors, it would also make a fair bit of sense to add in MK41 VLS, but I suspect that would be a bit much. 24 sea ceptors would give it a not unreasonable anti air area defence capability. The fact is the size of its hanger, mission bays etc make it a far more useful asset that most people give it credit. finally it’s gun armament really is optimal to a lot of asymmetrical threats such as small boat swarms in confined seas. Infact it’s probably the asset… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I agree with all of that.

I could have been developed for bomb alley really.

The Mk41 is a stretch, agreed, but Mk41 is coming into RN service and it is designed into the structure.

8 decent deck mount missiles would make it very potent.

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
11 minutes ago
Reply to  Paul42

the opv’s should all get the ‘krabi’ treatment a 76 mm rapid fire gun and two extra 30mm cannon fitted aft of the bridge wings with the stated intention to procure martlet for those 30mm’s

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
14 minutes ago
Reply to  Reaper

if one ever hits the water.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
4 days ago

Good to see the RN improving its capabilities.

Mark
Mark
4 days ago

Good to see another ship ready for active service. Will her first assignment be escort to POW? Also how long will she be inservice and will her new upgraded systems sonar and radar along with her silo’s be transferred to type31/32s?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Her next docking will be approx 5 years after she undocked this time. That’s usually the time between mandatory underwater checks which can be consessed to 6A if needs must. After that it gets to be a big issue for Lloyds surveys and certification and Platform Managers have to manage a lot of risk.

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago

Hope that,that Refit was not her midlife refit

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Mid life refits are a thing of the past. Docking periods now clear essential defects and underwater certification. Upgrades are spiralled in throughout the ships service life. No more saving up upgrades for One big package of work.

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks Gunbuster it now seems that surface vessels have are in and out of the yards quite regularly for updating I wonder where they now get their Beer fridges from now that LEC refridgeration has gone what a defence catastrophe warm cans Mafro would be up in arms

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

White fridges for the lads n lasses… Senior rates get glass fronted ones. No idea who makes them… A fridge is a fridge and as long as you can get a couple of crates in it and the bear, cider, wine is cool who cares… No it’s not a typo wine is now on the beverage menu!

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Must go down well with the ,9 o’clockers Cheese selection

Trevor G
Trevor G
3 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I remember that the Type 23 was originally designed for an 18 year life in order to avoid major midlife refit. It was also envisaged in the beginning as the minimum frigate capable of deploying towed array, so Monmouth is now a way more capable asset.

Trevor G
Trevor G
3 days ago
Reply to  Trevor G

Sorry Portland (Senior moment)

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago
Reply to  Trevor G

Yep supposed to have a short life span and where universally known as Skoda Class when they came out. No frills and no luxuries. Since then the systems and kit fitted to them has left them as basically a completely different class of vessel. New main guns, missile systems , command system, Satcom, EW, close Range guns, thermal sights and laser range finders, radars, sonars, DGs, Helo services, torpedo decoys, decoy systems, DLF, pumps, galley equip, computer systems and IT, accom upgrades, RO plants, Garbage disposal systems, HVMU, MCAS, radios, Fridges, WECDIS , WAIS, numerous sneaky fits, damage control equipment,… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

USB points, on Bunks ?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Most upgrades have been more to do with 240v sockets for bunks. Properly wired in from a dedicated breaker… Not a dodgy transformer above the roof tiles held down with ty wraps and wired into a random 115v circuit… Not that I ever did that!

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Good old Rabit runs the amount of Dabbers that would ram matches into 115vts sockets was beyond belief instead of getting a step up transformer the L’s would go ballistic,

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

It is a good thing that they were not cheapened up as much as John Nott wanted.

Even so the starting point of the T31 is much breeder than that of the T23.

So if the same upgrade efforts are made to T31 something really useful will emerge.

Pete
Pete
3 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

New hull sonar, 2x new radars, refurbished propulsion, modern aaw missile system installed, mess deck modernisation, IT upgrades and all over 3 years…sounds like one big package of work to me. ..ok.. they could have installed wing mirrors to watch the Russian gunnery practice/ warning shots going on 8 kms behind them.

Wonder if this sea ceptor install came with the anti surface software?

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 days ago

Always good to see RN ship back on the waves 🇬🇧⚓

AV
AV
3 days ago

Reading between the lines this will give her another 10 years?..(with hull inspection in 2026)..so that’s 2031. How does that overlay with type 26 introduction..have they been specific with which type 26 hull will replace her?..

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
3 days ago
Reply to  AV

I think her planned ‘OSD’ is 2034. Type 26 introduction, on the other hand will begin with Glasgow. She will take 9 years from keel laid to active service (2017 – 2026), Cardiff is 18 months behind her behind her so 2028?, and Belfast 4 years so 2030. If current flow continues, then first B2 T26 could be in service for 2032, then 2034. So maybe the 5th of the class… So the Sheffield. Last t23 (HMS ST ALBANS) OSD is 2036.

Cheers, Goldilocks

AV
AV
2 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Thanks, seems there might be method to the madness after all.

Quentin Drury
Quentin Drury
3 days ago

Is this the last of the T23s that’s had its Seawolf removed?

Quentin Drury
Quentin Drury
3 days ago
Reply to  Quentin Drury

Now that Monmouth is being decommissioned?

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Quentin Drury

I believe so. Monmouth was laid up, stripped of weapons and sensors in preparation for the full LIFEX Portland has just emerged from. Indeed, she is in the same material state as Portland when she was laid up at Devonport in exactly the same way! Type 23s including Lancaster and Iron Duke have been laid up and stripped prior to LIFEX for years, its no big deal.

Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I’ll miss the 23s names, Iron Duke ect, Glasgow and Belfast and london don’t have the same feel…

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The Fleet has to have a London it appeases Lloyd’s

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I served on HMS London DLG 78-80 when visiting London Lloyd’s of London always made us cordially welcome and whilst looking around we would be bombarded with bloody paper planes thrown as darts should of nicked their Bell

Meirion x
Meirion x
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Sure it wasn’t 88 not 78?
Because HMS London was not commissioned until 1987.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Hms London DLG County Class Destroyer not HMS London type 22 batch 2 Sorry I should of made clear We were the Last Navy ship to lower the union flag from HMS St Angelo Malta 1979

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

And a Sheffield!

Tommo
Tommo
3 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Yes but this one built with more fire pumps instead of one ringmain 42s looked great especially Sheffield with her hidden TV aerials each side of the wardroom superstructure had the Russians guessing what they were but alas inadequate fitemain and pumps wasn’t sorted until the stretched 42s came out Manchester crewed with boys from the Sheffield and Coverntry my god did they do “Call Rounds”

Meirion x
Meirion x
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin Drury

HMS Sutherland want in for LIFEX last year.

Randal Mcmurphy
Randal Mcmurphy
3 days ago

love to see the senior service with up to date vessels

Reaper
Reaper
3 days ago

Does she have Harpoon fitted?

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Not that I’m aware of – Harpoon seems to have already been retired. Only 1 of the CSG21 escorts that are Harpoon Capable actually have it fitted. Not that it’s much use nowadays anyway.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 days ago

Now just a thought. The type 23 was originally going to be a very basic ASW platform with Almost no self defence. As the RN was moving to single ship deployment and the lessons from the falklands this never happened. But now the RN has moved to task groups with a need or ASW maybe a small number of totally focused ASW platforms would work. They would either serve with a carrier or in home waters. Not need to have other complex weapons just focus on having a tail.

Meirion x
Meirion x
2 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

An focused ASW vessel on the periphery of a CSG may need to defend it’s self quickly?

Last edited 2 days ago by Meirion x
Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago

Monday 13th looks like Monmouth is going
into the basin Portsmouth the last stop before the trot