The Royal Navy say that HMS Richmond has emerged from refit as ‘the nation’s most advanced frigate’.

According to a release, Richmond has undergone many of the same upgrades as the remainder of the frigate flotilla has received over the past few years, notably replacing the aged Sea Wolf air defence missile system with the new Sea Ceptor.

“Where Richmond stands out, however, is as test bed for her successors in the Type 26/City class of frigates; she’s the first vessel to receive the PGMU propulsion system – a new generation of diesel generators, accompanied by a fully-modernised control and surveillance system, making it easier to control and monitor the engines… diagnose any problems. Richmond’s marine engineers have been putting the new system through its paces, with an extensive series of trials that will ensure the frigate sails with the highest levels of confidence and operational capability when she begins her sea trials.

Other crew members have been training extensively during the refit: regular fire and flood drills; warfare specialists fought simulated battles in the ops room simulator and chefs got stuck into Devonport’s ‘cook and serve’ contest, earning a bronze medal for their efforts.”

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Following sea trials in early 2020, the frigate will spend the rest of the year undergoing extensive training all leading up to her planned assignment as anti-submarine escort for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s battle group when the carrier sails on her maiden deployment in 2021.

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Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

For old girls, the T23s really are astounding ASW platforms. ASW really is a feather in the cap of HM armed forces

Stu
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Stu

Makes me feel old when you describe 23s as old. I joined up Jan 95, & they were the newest most modern ships in the fleet. Was gutted I wasn’t able to serve on one!

Dave B
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Dave B

I do not believe that is your real name. 😉

Rob
Guest
Rob

Excellent that will be one back in the fleet next year. Another 6 awaiting LIFEX or other maintenance in Devonport. Only 6 available out of 13, just shows the reality of extending the lifespan of older hulls.

A constant drumbeat of orders is the only solution and is probably cheaper in the long-term. Its a shame so many decisions are based on Parliament terms and annual accounting years.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I suspect that even if the ships were available, they’d still be out of service due to a lack of sailors.

Callum
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Callum

6 available of 13 isn’t exactly a bad statistic. Having half of the fleet active at any given time is actually a pretty decent statistic when you consider that the general rule followed is one active, one working up, one in refit.

Pete
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Pete

Fantastic decision to trial the new propulsion system for type 26 in type23. Identify and mitigate potential issies before they emerge in first of class.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I agree. A very sensible and reassuring plan. It also addresses Farouk’s cynicism/concern I think. Even the MoD aren’t crazy enough to refit a ship with some latest and greatest only-one-in-the-fleet testbed equipment only to sell the ship off soon afterwards. Presumably it will get sold at some point but hopefully at the appropriate time when a T26 or T31 replacement is available and not before.

Paul
Guest
Paul

It’s not a one off. It’s already in the process of being installed in another vessel currently undergoing LIFEX in Devonport.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the u.k should adopt a strict one for one replacement programme. how long does the LIFEX give to the operational time?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

At least 8/9 years until the No. 3 of the Type 26 is in service.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Yup, it certainly seems some lessons are being learnt. Perhaps it is a spin off from the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the experience of transfering lessons learnt from the Queen Elizabeth being fed back into to the Prince of Wales build…

Whatever the reason it is encouraging and I hope that it continues and expands as a standard feature across all UK defence programmes.

Paul
Guest
Paul

It’s not a spin off from the NSS. It is a project that started back in the ‘noughties’. Its a shame it’s taken so long to finally get installed into the first platform. It was supposed to be fitted in all T23s but it wont be possible to achieve that now.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I don’t think neither HMS Westminister, No 1 of the ASW T23’s is getting the PGMU upgrade.
I hope HMS Northumberland No 2 of ASW T23 will get PGMU?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

shame the ‘frigate factory’ concept never happened.the ability like china has done in its new submarine factory where 4 submarines can be built alongside each other shows how the u.k has missed the boat in this kind of building and maintaining its fleet method

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

It may still be possible, Babcock are talking about new investment off the back of the T31 order, but we’ll see…

Paul
Guest
Paul

It’s not actually the propulsion system that’s been changed, it’s the power generation system. The propulsion motors have not been changed in any way. The motors that will be used in T26 are totally different.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

should have proven the systems in the t45’s and maybe saved a fortune in refitting to fix defects.

farouk
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farouk

Call me cynical, but whenever I see a navy ship just out of a refit, all I see is somebody at the MOD (under all parties) simply wanting to sell it off for a backhander.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

OK your cynical 🙂

To be fair though far too may good ships have been sold of cheaply over the last 20 years. So I would suggest you could reasonably call yourself a concerned interested citizen and more of them we need…

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

I’m curious as to what could have been achieved if the Batch 3 T22’s had gone through a LIFEX ?. Either not worth the expense or sort of a CAAM Cruiser type Ship.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah the last 22s should have been saved and lived to fight another day, hell even keeping one as a museum ship, I would visit it But i would visit any EX RN vessel though. but then again so should the other three 23s been saved and keep all one class but nope!

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Weren’t a couple of Type 22s sold to Brazil? Are they still in service?

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Having no VLS ( Ex Sea Wolf GWS 26) would have meant a major rebuild to put Silos into the vessel for Sea Ceptor. T22 b3 had the GWS 25 6 round box launchers fwd and aft.

Manpower intensive (300+ crew) and gas guzzlers ( 2 x tynes and 2 x Speys) their days where numbered anyway. They where an easy target
to get rid of and save some serious cash and manpower.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

The T22 were fantastic ships in many respects, but they required significantly larger crews than the even bigger T45’s. I think that one problem we have had in recent years with our Naval building programme is that we are quick to start from a blank sheet of paper every time we need a new ship. In the late 50’s through to the early 70’s we were building Type 12 hulls that were developed through a number of distinct Frigate classes, most notable being the Rothesay and Leander classes. Chile, Australia, India, Holland and South Africa all used the Leander version… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

all of the t22’s had low mileage on them and were ‘given away’ if half had been kept and re designated as destroyers,(they had all the attributes including command control capabilities a destroyer needs. nowadays imagine type 22’s fitted with artisan and sea ceptor, they’d be potent assets indeed, plus we had lots of them, the engines worked,then in fact all the equipment issues with the t45’s would have been avoided with them. they would/should have replaced the t42’s on a one for one basis

Mark B
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Mark B

So let’s take say Iron Duke and sort her out setting up as a destroyer.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

I doubt a 9 tonne artisan on top of the mast would have done anything for sea keeping or hull life. The command system was not up to date. CAISS and CACS on B1 and B2 was a nightmare to work with. They would nave needed a complete DNA install at the very least . Mechanically there where issues. Evaps and donkey boilers are expensive to maintain as opposed to Calorifiers and Rev Osmosis plants. GTs and DGs needed a lot of work as well. Dont get me wrong I loved working on the 3 I served on but they… Read more »

ATH
Guest
ATH

What would we now be using? The very youngest B3 would now be 30 years old. The oldest T23 in service is a year younger and look at the issues they are having. The T22 with its vast crew was and would be a viability for an RN which has had long term recruitment/retention difficulties.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

A couple I was on never even got into a planned refit. The refits where cancelled to save the money, they where then sold on and the refit for the new buyers went into the sale price.

BB85
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BB85

The article on Save the RN yesterday painted a pretty bleak picture on availability. I can’t see all of the T23’s making it through the LIFEX program is the T31 starts entering service around 2024 unless the plan is to upgrade some of them purely to sell them on, in which case i would like to think the sale price is more than the refit price.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I would say there is a fair chance Iron Duke will be scrapped or just laid up for a long time. Her material state is poor and there must be questions as to whether it is worth the money putting her through LIFEX.

I doubt any of the T23s will be sold. By the time they are no linger required by the RN they will be completely knackered.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah but new engines and after lifex country’s that can’t afford to build frigates will want them, even Bangladesh or Romania, I would be surprised if Atleast 4 of the best aren’t sold cheaply.

Rob
Guest
Rob

The 4 oldest aren’t getting new engines during LIFEX. They are the ones to be retired first but will still be 32+ years old by then. The 3 T23s we sold to Chile and Brazil (i think) were a lot younger. You might be right that they get sold anyway, but they will have a short shelf life so we may be best trying to sell them T31 instead.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I’ll correct myself. Montrose and Argyll are slated as not receiving engine upgrades as the 2 oldest. However, Kent, Northumberland and Westminster have been through LIFEX but have yet to receive engine upgrades – they will allegedly receive them at some future point. Call me a cynic but I highly doubt that will happen.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

what will the life extension deliver in terms of operation years?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

how many years have their lives been extended for?

ATH
Guest
ATH

In reality that depended on the actual delivery dates of the T26 and T31.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

I would say at least 8 years!

andy reeves
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andy reeves

give them to commonwealth navies. canada, new zealand, australia would bite our hands off for them.

John C
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John C

I think the days when navies such as these bought old RN ships are long done. Canada has its own equivalent class of frigates, all twelve of which are currently undergoing the Halifax Class Modernization Project, and both Canada and Australia are buying their own versions of the T26. Canada’s disastrous experience with the Upholders has probably put them off such a course of action anyway, even if they had a use for them.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I’m all for supporting our Commonwealth friends and allies but I’m not sure a few ageing frigates are quite that tempting an offer. Sure they’re good at ASW and Sea-Ceptor’s pretty good, but both the RCN and RAN already operate reasonably sized fleets frigates of a similar vintage to the Type 23 (12 Halifax class and 8 ANZAC Class). As for the RNZN, the New Zealand Government and tax payer barely has the appetite to maintain 2 ANZAC class, let alone pay for the costly upkeep of additional 30 year old vessels with limited difference in capability to the existing… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Did I say Swiftsure? Silly me, I meant the Upholders of course!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the less said about the upholders and their mammoth contribution of less than 10 years combined and the corruption ridden sale of two t22’s to romania must never be repeated. the lost 60 million paid to a ‘fixer’ was never found even the serious fraud squad admitted defeat in trying to find where it went!

Dave
Guest
Dave

Actually the two New Zealand MEKO’s are in the midst of their life extension and modernization at Seaspan in Esquimalt British Columbia. The new Brains of the Ships are the LM designed CMS 330 system of the modernized Halifax Class of the RCN.

Oscar Zulu
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Oscar Zulu

Andy, mate check your calendar – it’s 2019 not 1920. Australia is not a colony or a charity case. Australia has a per capita GDP (ranked 10th globally) greater than the UK (ranked 20th). We make our own defence procurement decisions and, by all accounts haven’t been doing it too badly recently. I’ll grant you that the RN’s T23 is a fine ASW platform, but its anti-missile capability lags behind the RANs ANZAC class. The combination of the Australian CEAFAR radar and the 32 quad-packed ESSM missiles (which have twice the range of Sea Ceptor) has already been tested and… Read more »

Paul42
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Paul42

I believe Iron Duke is already undergoing her Lifex refit. They’re doing 2-3 at a time and knocking them out as quickly as possible. It makes sense to do them all, it makes them a lot more saleable when we’re done with them.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

I have just done some work with the T23 that is out here for a 4 week maint period (again!) They had a couple of bad areas of steel to replace, nothing major and nothing compared to a commercial ship steel replacement. The total steel weighed in at around 20kg. A commercial ship? Well its not uncommon to weigh in at 100 to 200 + TONNES of steel replacement. She was in good nick despite being run hard over the past months doing escort duties. When they left, the crew was happy with the repairs and service they had received… Read more »

Rob
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Rob

Very interesting and encouraging too, thanks.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

i misread that twice! i thought it said a 4 week paint period! must get new glasses

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

It would make far more sense to upgrade five or six and keep them for low-intensity conflicts, additional support roles for the carriers, patrolling the North Atlantic and UK shores given the increase in Russian activity, or simply to replace ships in refit?

Just a thought!

andy reeves
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andy reeves

works for me.

ATH
Guest
ATH

And who would crew them? I’m sure you’re aware the RN is in a serious manpower crisis.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

How many River 1s are being retained? I think the 5 River 2s will come into their own, picking up the constabulary and presence duties currently done by the GP Type 23s. Falklands, Med, Somalia, Caribbean, Fleet ready escort. Can’t see more than 4-6 ASW Type 23s getting Lifexd. What’s the current score?

Rob
Guest
Rob

The lack of a helo hangar means it isn’t really suitable for the Caribbean and Somalia roles.

Montrose, Argyll, Kent, Northumberland and Westminster all been through LIFEX. None of these received engine upgrades, although the latter 3 are supposed to (we will see).

Richmond and Lancaster should be out of LIFEX next year. Iron Duke just going in but is in a bad way. I wouldn’t be surprised if that gets further delayed or cancelled. The rest are scheduled out to 2023.

Jay
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Jay

I thought HMS Richmond had a helo hanger???

jason
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jason

i always thought richmond had a helo hangar

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Thx.
Re the helo hangar might it be that an RFA mother ship would be present in the Caribbean and off Somalia?
So is the expectation for just 4 re-engined LIFEXd Type 23 ?
Are Kent, Northumberland and Westminster ASW of GP ships?

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Why not exercise POW over there. Should be enough space and it would be useful whilst still in test mode.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Current plans are for all bar 2 to get upgraded engines, bust Richmond is the only one that has thus far as she is the test bed for the T26 propulsion system. All subject to the whims of the next Govt spending review I guess.

Montrose, Monmouth, Iron Duke, Lancaster and Argyll are the GP frigates.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

K, N and W are ASW T23’s. W is expected out of service in 2026!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

upgrade them as the thais have done with theirs, hmts KRABI carries a 76mm rapid fire oto melara main gun, two extra 30mm cannon fitted aft of the bridge wings with negotiations under way for martlet to fitted to the extra cannon, they’ll be called corvettes

Rob
Guest
Rob

I would like to see them extended and a hangar added too. The problem is if we do all this then the MOD will designate them frigates and reduce numbers elsewhere.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I’m sure that was the BAE thinking behind their Leander offering for Type 31. As it is we went for Arrowhead. In terms of additional roles for the River 2s I think, given their crane and large deck, might be mother ship for remote mine clearance/hunting vehicles.
That said, just swapping the 30mm for a 57mm with programmable ammunition and adding decoys would significantly increase their ability to look after themselves.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

57mm !!! thats a 2 inch peashooter utterly pointless!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

maybe an ASROC in the ‘B’ turret position?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

give all the archers to the border force, drill half dozen to act, and operate as a squadron, fit them with the 2omm cannon they were designed to carry, out and send them to join the gibraltar squadron.poor old sabre, and scimitar are on their last legs, i was on sabre in the late 70s’ on anti terrorist duties, inserting special forces and marines up the various river es never, poor sabre wasn’t in great shape even then.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Not surprised they are in such a poor state nor that they are proving to be a challenge to update. They were deliberately built to a shortened life span of 18 years as the Global Combat Ship, i.e. T26, would be entering service to replace them!

The T23 were in build when I started my career with MOD and remember being told about the 18 year lifespan. Even then I thought it was a silly idea and that they were being rediculously optimistic if they thought such a complex defence project as the Global Combat Ship would ever arrive on time!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

defence project on time never has happened…….. EVER.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Not strictly true, post WW2 I would struggle to think of an example to be fair.

HMS Dreadnaught – her with the 12″ guns not the sub – was built in record time. Mind you they only achieved it by pinching the guns for the last pre-dreadnaught battleships we built, namely, HMS Lord Nelson and HMS Agamemnon. So Dreadnaught was ahead of schedule and the Lord Nelson class were – yup, you guessed it – late 🙂

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

every t22 was sold with low mileage on them, they were good for another 15-20 years service. it must rank, along with the withdrawal and retirement(5 years early) as one of the dumbest ill thought fiasco’s since the upholder submarines(all 4 of them) were sold to canada, with not one of them having been in the fleet longer than 3 years 6 t22’s are still in service around the world 2 ith romania, 2 with chile, two with brazil all 6 might be worth a repurchase,modern systems upgraded designated as destroyers an an immediate increas of up to 6 front… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

HMG could offer them a low ball price in exchange for a discounted slot on the end of the Type 31 production line 🙂

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

good point send it to the M.O.D. i write to them on a regular basis via my local m.p i send my thoughts to him asking him to forward it to the relative department, i always get a reply(usually a repeat of the manifesto) and it can take a few months, but i do get one

Ryan Brewis
Guest
Ryan Brewis

That may be, but they’re crap nowadays. If you honestly think buying back Type 22’s and designating them as destroyers is a good idea then…I don’t know what to say. The guns would need replaced, god only knows what electronics and such are in them and in what state, Phalanx would be a urgent requirement since the missile defence is a joke-two six round launchers? Seriously? And you want to put them in the same category as the Type 45’s? We’d be better quadpacking Sea Ceptor in an ADL and sticking it on the River B2. Not to mention needing… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

depends on how fast the scottish ‘dockies can roll out the t31

T.S
Guest

I would personally like to see the T23’s gifted or sold cheap to our poorer NATO/ European allies such as Romania to help boost presence along the Russian front. I’m sure at a much lower pace of operation they could still be useful for years to come especially in calmer seas. If they still have their CAAM farms then we get to sell them seaceptor and provide help maintaining them, for a small fee of course. The donor nation then gets experience with UK ships, weapons and systems and would be more likely to buy of us in the years… Read more »

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

Please add the Baltics to your wishes, especially TAS sea ceptor combos. Baltic flotilla would really take the pressure off.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah but how many new frigates have we sold to nations who already have british frigates? Not many atall. I think we should keep 4 type 23s for duties that we don’t need new ships for patrolling the Caribbean ect even forward basing them, France has more ships than the uk because they have a few older ones based in French territory like the Far East for eg

T.S
Guest

Retention of a few of the best condition ones for low intensity ops would be the best outcome of all, but they are manpower heavy and we would be u likely to crew them. Unless we forward based them and trained up local commonwealth crews?

700 Glengarried Men
Guest
700 Glengarried Men

What about using them as training ships mainly crewed with a skeleton of seasoned veterans fleshed out with raw recruits and could be used for minor low intensity roles or enemy for big exercises to practise against

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

speaking of commonwealth crews, are we doing anything about foreign recruiting? that with the promise of early citizenship might just be what the navy needs maybe the 00’s of nepalese,that don’t get to be gurkhas might fancy being sailors.

Paul42
Guest
Paul42

I wouldn’t be surprised if dur consideration has been given to actually retaining a small number of Type 23s for a few years in order to boost Fleet escort numbers until.more money is found to build more Type 26 or Type 31, heavily upgrading the Type 31 in the process. The Type 23 is one of the best ASW vessels in the world and renowned for being so! With the submarine threat increasing sales of ASW Type 23s with Sea Ceptor could prove lucrative whilst encourage overseas sales of Sea Ceptor, possibly providing funding from sales of ships to fund… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

pakistan has just retired 6 type 21’s, which also should act as a reminder as to how long ships can operate. those t21’s would have been ideal for the gulf region issues or even forward basing at gibraltar or bahrain.fitting artisan and sea ceptor cross decked from a retiring t23 to them would have seen a rapid increase to the fleet size of 6 more frigates, and THEY WERE BUILT already.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’d gift them to australia in exchange for retiring collins submarines all involvEd are ALREADY BUILT. SO PARTS AND EXCHANGE TRAINING FOR THE NEW CREWS SHOULD BE ALL THE QUICKER FOR GETTING THEM INTO THE FLEET, sorry about the caps i’m not shouting!

q.'S WILL EVER VISIT DEVONPORTTHEY'RE TOO BIG
Guest
q.'S WILL EVER VISIT DEVONPORTTHEY'RE TOO BIG

i had a similar thought several years ago when the Q.E’s were being built, the giant nimitz class carrier j.f.k was on hold for DONATION, as were several recently modified oliver hazard perry frigates or as a museum the naval inactive ships facility inventory is always a good look at just to see whats out there. if it wasn’t for the crew sizes i’d say the u.k should have acquired a couple of recently retired’ ticonderoga cruisers crews over 400. to crew a nimitz class we’d have to empty the jails and ‘bring back the’ press’! F 18’s, catapults and… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

turkey to operate carrier without jets, why is that familiar?

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

They have submarines and reconnaissance satellites. Throw in a mix of cruise missiles and they would probably have enough capacity for their strike needs. Turkey’s ‘security concerns’ are landward mostly. Over the islands they have the cover of their air force.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

so, how much of her life has she been extended for?

Rob
Guest
Rob

HMS Argyll (F231) 1989 (Planned out of service date 2023) HMS Lancaster (F229) 1990 (Planned out of service date 2024) HMS Iron Duke (F234) 1991 (Planned out of service date 2025) HMS Monmouth (F235) 1991 (Planned out of service date 2026) HMS Montrose (F236) 1992 (Planned out of service date 2027) HMS Westminster (F237) 1992 (Planned out of service date 2028) HMS Northumberland (F238) 1992 (Planned out of service date 2029) HMS Richmond (F239) 1993 (Planned out of service date 2030) HMS Somerset (F82) 1994 (Planned out of service date 2031) HMS Sutherland (F81) 1996 (Planned out of service date… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks for this Rob. Most interesting.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Rob – That makes interesting reading but id suggest the out of service dates will be open to amendment – for example both HMS Lancaster and HMS Iron Duke (if LIFEX actually happens) would be at the end of the schedule rather than second and third.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I guess it all depends on their material state and exactly what each ship has had done during LIFEX. I read somewhere that they are all done to budget so if a particular ship needs more reinforcing then other things may not be upgraded to keep it in budget.

Eg Iron Duke is in refit now so she may not get everything Richmond has due to her retirement date being earlier.

Anyone with more intimate knowledge of the programme?

Rob
Guest
Rob

Sorry didn’t realise it wouldn’t paste as a proper list. Richmond is scheduled to 2030, so 10 years. She will be 37 by then!

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

When the T26s and T31s come into service, would there be scope for keeping some of the T23s as part of a reserve/training/home fleet? What is the realistic possibility of putting some in to mothballs?

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

I think much of the kit on the T23s will be recycled for the T26. So it is unlikely that any remaining T23s will be much use in combat. Also there is the question of crewing them. The manpower would be better spent on new hulls.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

The Artisan Radar springs to mind plus the DS30 Guns but I wouldn’t have thought much else will be recycled.

David Flandry
Guest
David Flandry

So how much life does this add to the Richmond?

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

About 10 years of life, in the case of Richmond.