The UK Royal Navy Type 23 Duke class frigate HMS Lancaster (F229) has returned home to HM Naval Base Portsmouth after completing her life extension refit (LIFEX).
The vessel returned to Portsmouth from HM Naval Base Devonport, having left home four years earlier to begin preparations for her refit.
The additional capabilities installed on the frigate include the new Artisan 3D radar and the vastly-improved Sea Ceptor air-defense system, replacing the older Sea Wolf missiles which only possess about half the Sea Ceptor’s range.
The addition of Sea Ceptor will make HMS Lancaster more effective as part of a strike group, with the increased range of her air-defense missiles allowing her to defend not only herself but other ships within her umbrella against missiles and aircraft.
During the refit, the hull of the frigate was cleaned and coated with anti-fouling paint to prevent marine life attaching itself, her main 4.5-inch gun serviced, engines and machinery overhauled, new systems installed, and the bridge, messes and other communal areas revamped.
Commander Will Blackett RN, CO, will take The Queen’s Frigate back to sea early in 2020 to commence equipment trials and crew training.
He said: “The journey to take HMS Lancaster from engineering project, to ship, to warship is well underway. Returning to our base port is an important milestone which all onboard have keenly anticipated. The timing makes it all the more poignant – four years and one day since she left, HMS Lancaster is home for Christmas and looking forward to rejoining the front line in the year ahead.”
The vessel will see out the remaining years of her service life as a Portsmouth frigate until replaced during the 2020s by the Type 31 class. A deal was signed by the Ministry of Defence with Babcock last month to enable the Type 31 programme to begin soon.