According to information released by the British Royal Navy on December 2, 2020, the British company Babcock has completed the program to extend the life of the British Royal Navy’s HMS Portland Type 23-class frigate to take it to sea of ‘by Easter 2021.
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British Navy HMS Portland Type 23 or Duke class frigate. (Image source British Navy)
The British Navy’s HMS Portland is the latest ship in the Type 23 flotilla to undergo a major overhaul as part of the LIFEX or Life Extension program that her sisters have taken for the past five or six years.
HMS Portland is a Type 23 or Duke-class frigate in service with the British Royal Navy. The ship was commissioned by the Royal Navy on December 15, 2000 and was commissioned on May 3 of the following year.
After completing her last deployment in 2017 – to the North and South Atlantic – the ship was handed over to the Babcock Defense Company in 2018 to begin refit in the frigate hangars on the Devonport seafront.
HMS Portland began her refit in early 2018 and, as one of the youngest frigates, she likely needed fewer repairs to her hull. It was first fitted with the Artisan 997 radar but does not appear to have received the PGMU. It is the first of the 8 Type 23s to be fitted with the new Ultra Electronics S2150 arc-mounted sonar (replacing the old Type 2050). This system will also be migrated to Type 26s in the future.
In the almost three years since, in first for its class, two electric propulsion motors have been removed, rewired and replaced, the Sea Wolf missile system has been torn off and the Sea Ceptor installed in its place, surveillance 997 and radar navigation 1084 added; and the Royal Navy’s new 2150 hull sonar to sharpen its anti-submarine warfare teeth.
For good measure, the machines, computers and computer systems on board have been overhauled, as have the mess decks which were designed in the 1980s to meet the needs and expectations of 21st century sailors. In addition to the refurbishment of the mess decks and transmission, the ships are fitted with a transom flap that can add up to one knot (1.9 km / h; 1.2 mph) at top speed and reduce fuel consumption by 13%, and Intersleek anti-fouling paint which added two knots (3.7 km / h; 2.3 mph) at top speed.
Citing the “Save the Royal Navy” website, each frigate undergoing refit (LIFEX) has a hull study and repairs, the Sea Wolf missile system replaced by Sea Ceptor, a new Artisan radar (if not is not already installed) and various other upgrades and renovations.
The Type 23 HMS Portland is now armed with a 32-cell Sea Wolf GWS.26 VLS cartridge for 32 Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missiles with a range of 1 to 25 km. The ship is also armed with two quadruple Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, twin 12.75-inch (324 mm) Sting Ray torpedo tubes, a 4.5-inch Mk 8 BAE naval gun, two DS30M Mk2 30 mm or 2 Ã 30 mm cannons DS30B cannons, two Miniguns and four general-purpose machine guns.