Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Iron Duke in final phase of major overhaul

Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Iron Duke has entered the final phase of a major refit which will ensure the ship keeps pace with the latest developments in naval warfare and operations.

Royal Navy

Having seen extensive service around the world in an active career going back to 1993 as one of the older ships in its class, HMS Iron Duke received the most comprehensive engineering job on its hull of all the Type 23 frigates to undergo the LIFEX (Life Extension) revamp.

The ship, currently in the basin by the frigate refit complex in Devonport, is the first to benefit from Operation Baton (T23) – the crew of a ship entering refit transfer to one coming to the end of a maintenance period to help regenerate it.

A string of warfare and system upgrades have been carried out, including installing the Sea Ceptor air defence missile system, preparation to carry the Future Anti-Ship Guided Weapons – Martlet and Sea Venom anti-ship missiles carried by Wildcat helicopters – as well as numerous communication and navigation upgrades.

The crew will work with Babcock and contractors to prepare and calibrate those systems before the Portsmouth-based warship returns to sea, currently planned for February next year. 

“During her time in dry dock HMS Iron Duke has had more than 1700 structural inserts fitted to the vessel, two times more than any other previous refit we’ve undertaken during the Type 23 Life Extension Programme,” Gary Simpson, Managing Director of Babcock’s Marine Support business, said.