UK: HMS Monmouth Prepares for Operations
HMS Monmouth is alongside at her homeport of Plymouth undergoing engineering support ahead of pre-deployment training.
The ship’s bridge reverberates to the sound of grinding tools as a new sensor mount is fitted on top of the ship and a welder works in the engine turbines, while at the bows, weapon engineers align the new barrel of the 4.5-inch main gun as it is craned into place.
Following a well-earned summer leave after a busy six weeks of training at the hands of the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training, the crew has returned to duty to continue maintenance and embark stores and check systems in preparation for further training ahead of any forthcoming deployments.
Commander Gordon Ruddock, HMS Monmouth’s Commanding Officer, said: “It is essential that HMS Monmouth is ready for every eventuality, both in terms of her material state and the preparedness the ship’s company.”
During this period of support the ship bristles with scaffolding as sailors and support personnel clamber over every inch of ship, no matter how hard to reach, with the aim of leaving the jetty in the autumn with the frigate (known as the Black Duke) at the very top of its game.
Leading Seaman (Seaman Specialist) Matthew Ashcroft said: “It’s been a busy year so everyone’s looking forward to future deployments and having this time alongside with shore-side help allows us to get some deep maintenance done, replace the items we need to and make sure everything is as good as it can be before sailing on any deployments.”
The Type 23 Frigate was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders on the Clyde and launched by Lady Eaton in 1991. Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, she is now a general purpose frigate and carries an impressive arsenal of weaponry and boasts modern sonar, radar and communications outfits.
HMS Monmouth is the sixth of the Type 23 Duke class frigates, the seventh warship to bear the name and has the most battle honours of any commissioned warship in the Royal Navy.
Naval Today Staff, September 21, 2012; Image: Royal Navy