Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland underway after Sea Ceptor refit


Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland got underway for the first time since 2016 after undergoing a major refit.

The frigate was delivered to the crew by shipbuilder Babcock in October 2017 and is now starting trials and training evolutions before returning to operations.

The 24-year-old frigate joined three sister ships in receiving a late-life revamp which will help keep her in service until the end of the next decade.

Argyll, Montrose and Westminster are among the frigates to have already completed the lengthy and complex overhaul, the most significant change involving ripping out her Seawolf air defence missiles and putting Sea Ceptor, with its ‘mushroom farm’ silo, in its place.

In addition to the missile silo, the ship now has a new command and control system to mesh all the data from Northumberland’s many sensors together so the ops room team can make sense of what’s happening around them. The frigate also received four new diesel generators and associated upgraded power distribution delivered by Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU.

The chefs have a new galley and fridge, while all the messes have been upgraded with the latest entertainment systems installed to make downtime for the 180 men and women on board more pleasant.

“The ship’s company are relishing the opportunity to demonstrate their professional capabilities and return HMS Northumberland to her rightful place – at the forefront of UK defence,” ship Commander Alexandra Pollard said.

“For many, this is their first ship and they are looking forward to the chance to challenge themselves over the next few years whilst getting the opportunity to see some foreign ports of call.”