UK to retire two Type 23 frigates

During Sea Power Conference 2024 in London, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that two Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates will be retired.

HMS Argyll; Credit: Royal Navy

As informed, the vessels in question are Type 23 frigates HMS Argyll and HMS Westminster. HMS Argyll has been sold to BAE Systems and will be used within the UK’s shipbuilding sector, supporting apprentice training in line with the government’s agenda on skills and shipbuilding capacity. The vessel was launched in 1989, and it was the longest-serving Type 23 frigate.

HMS Westminster, which was launched in February 1992, will also be decommissioned. The vessel was known throughout the Royal Navy as ‘the capital ship’. In 2014, HMS Westminster underwent an extensive refit which resulted in a new principal weapon: the Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile system

HMS Westminister; Credit: Royal Navy

The First Sea Lord said: “I pay tribute to the sterling service of the two Types 23 frigates that were announced for retirement today – collectively they have deployed worldwide, conducted dozens of live operations, and have far surpassed their expected service life.”

“While always sad to pay off such fine warships, their decommissioning marks the next stage of our reinvestment in new, more modern frigates.”

UK recently revealed that six new amphibious warships are to be built for the Royal Marines operations. The new multi-role support ships (MRSS) will be able to deploy on a wider variety of operations, and designed to carry vehicles, aircraft, insertion craft and a broad range of uncrewed systems for complicated missions.

This brings the total number of UK-built ships and submarines in the pipeline to benefit the Royal Navy to up to 28, with Type 26 and Type 31 in Scotland, Astute and Dreadnought submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, and fleet solid support ships in Belfast and Devon.   

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