UK’s Type 23 frigate ready for action

Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Kent has been cleared for action and ready for autumn deployment after intensive training in the English Channel.

HMS Kent back in Portsmouth after completing OST; Photo: Royal Navy

Having undergone some maintenance following last year’s exertions, HMS Kent headed to Plymouth, home of Fleet Operational Sea Training which determines whether British and NATO warships are capable of operating on the front line.

The training package has undergone some substantial changes in the past few years, with the emphasis increasingly on shorter, bespoke training packages and assessment depending on a ship’s mission such as submarine hunting, board-and-search patrols, task group duties.

The frigate underwent a six-week, full-on, intensive assessment which begins with the basics and ends with a ship ready to take any of the tasks demanded.

First, the ship was tested to see if she’s in the right material condition for the rigours of training, sensors are checked and aligned, and crew are tested on their ability to deal with fires, floods and breakdowns.

There was also a simulated grounding that demanded HMS Kent to be refloated and fully operational again. The training also involved board-and-search operations, intense air attacks and serious damage, and a search and rescue mission.

HMS Kent was one of the escorts for the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on its maiden deployment to the Pacific Rim last year.

On its seven-month mission, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the task group of eight supporting ships, a submarine, five air squadrons and more than 3,700 personnel visited more than 40 countries.

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