HMS Westminster first Type 23 frigate to complete life extension upgrade

Work on upgrades to the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate, HMS Westminster, have been completed at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK.

The multi-million pound refit on the 24-year-old Duke Class frigate has followed several busy years of deployments across the globe and includes upgrades to weapons and marine systems that will enhance her warfighting capabilities for years ahead.

The improvements to HMS Westminster include the installation of BAE Systems’ Artisan 3D radar, which can monitor more than 800 objects simultaneously from 200 to 200,000 meters away and the Sea-Ceptor air defense weapon system, which will protect against aerial threats.

She has also been installed with a refurbished 4.5 inch MK8 naval gun, which can fire up to two dozen high explosive shells per minute to combat surface, aircraft and shore targets. Additionally, HMS Westminster’s hull has received a coat of anti-fouling paint, providing protection from algae and marine organism growth on operations.

Structural improvements include replacing the bridge, upgrading the galley and refurbishing mess decks and communal areas for the ship’s company, who recently moved back on board.

HMS Westminster will now undergo a series of harbor-based and sea trials ahead of an anticipated return to service in spring 2017.

Richard Dingley, BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: “HMS Westminster’s upkeep program confirms the company’s ship support capabilities and sustains the Royal Navy’s desire for the long term availability of their ships. We are continuing to deliver support to more than half of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. This includes technical services, training solutions and modernization programs, as well as maintenance, repair and upgrades to ships and equipment. Our attention will now focus on returning to the fleet as an operational warship next year.”

The image below, provided by BAE Systems, illustrates the upgrades HMS Westminster received during her refit.