Babcock began work today on the refit that will see the Type 23 frigate become the first in the class to receive both a major update to the Seawolf self-defence missile system and the new command system that controls the weapons at the same time.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“We work closely with industry to equip our Armed Forces and this refit will boost several of HMS Westminster’s systems and making her the most advanced frigate in the fleet.
“The Seawolf update that is being rolled out across the Type 23s is designed to combat the increasing threat of faster, lower flying and more manouvreable missiles today and also to guard against future advances. The system can now track an object the size of a cricket ball at twice the speed of sound from over 20 miles away and launch two counter missiles.”
The new ‘brain’ of the ship’s weapons systems, called DNA(2), is also being installed as part of a class-wide programme upgrade across the Type 23 Frigate Force to help ensure that operational capability can be sustained and optimised for the future.
Director of Ships at Defence Equipment and Support, Rear Admiral Bob Love, said:
“The updated command system is designed to sustain the world-class operational capability of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates as technology moves forward. Exploiting off-the-shelf computing technology as appropriate, the system will be easier and more cost effective to maintain through life and shares many technological and operational features with that on the Type 45 Destroyers now entering service. This commonality will deliver further support efficiencies and minimise the need for Royal Navy personnel to retrain across ship classes during their careers.”
The contract for the upkeep period was negotiated under the Surface Ship Support Programme, the developing alliance between MOD, Babcock and BVT Surface Fleet.
Routine maintenance work during the upkeep, including replacement of the gearbox mainwheel, will also ensure that the warship remains in top condition for worldwide operations. The class was designed for anti-submarine operations and this refit will also see her state of the art Sonar 2087 system updated to maintain this capability as well as an update that will increase the range and performance of her 4.5” gun.
- Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, the Type 23 frigates have evolved into powerful and versatile multi purpose ships with the capability to operate anywhere in the world. In addition to its war fighting roles the ship can conduct a wide range of other tasks including embargo operations using boarding teams inserted from the ship’s boats or helicopter, disaster relief work and surveillance operations.
- The Seawolf missile system has already been fitted to HMS Sunderland and is performing well in trials.
- Type 23 Specs:
- 133m long
- 4,900 tonnes
- 28 knots
- 32 Sea Wolf missiles