Military

Navy Information – Reporting from the Fleet


For the primary time in 18 months HMS Westminster is powering via the ocean after finishing one of many longest, most complete and sophisticated revamps within the frigate’s 24-year life.


The ship is conducting trials off the South Coast as she begins an extended yr of coaching forward of resuming front-line duties as soon as extra.



Footage: PO(Phot) Des Wade


THIS is a sight to heat the cockles of the British coronary heart on a chilly winter’s day.


For the primary time in 18 months HMS Westminster is powering via the ocean after finishing one of many longest, most complete and sophisticated revamps within the frigate’s 24-year life.


Greater than 800 engineers, technicians and shipwrights from BAE Programs swarmed over the ship in Portsmouth Naval Base to organize her for the ultimate decade of her life.


They have been joined by ever-increasing numbers of ship’s firm, who’ve now taken Westminster to sea on trials, step one within the lengthy street again to rejoining the front-line Fleet.



When the ‘capital ship’ final sailed she had a distinct radar (996) and a distinct air defence system (Seawolf).


They been ripped out and changed respectively by 997 (higher often known as Artisan 3D) and Sea Ceptor, which has twice the interception vary of the outdated missile system.


The hull was cleaned and repainted – with anti-fouling paint to stop marine life attaching itself to the ship – the primary 4.5in gun serviced, the engines and equipment overhauled, mess and communal areas given a recent look and the bridge revamped.


Chief Petty Officer Andrew Buckley joined a brand-new Westminster again in 1994 and, 20 years later, was together with her all through the overhaul.


“Having taken Westminster out of construct, I’m proud to be taking her again out to sea after this in depth refit,” mentioned the senior ranking who serves within the operations room as an underwater warfare specialist – the frigate’s raison d’être.


“Though many issues have modified in regards to the ship materially, the ship’s firm are simply as proud to be serving on her as they have been at Day 1.”



Like CPO Buckley, a few of HMS Westminster’s 180-plus crew have been together with her all through the refit, while many others have come straight from coaching and this can be their first time at sea as they regenerate the ship for operations later this yr.


“Regardless of having labored onboard HMS Westminster for the previous two years, life at sea is a very totally different expertise,” mentioned deputy logistics officer Sub Lieutenant Harriet Delbridge.


“As soon as the ship returns to sea, she turns into a residing entity, the noise of the engines, the smells from the galley and pitch and roll as she ploughs via the waves.”


Westminster is certainly one of three Sort 23s to emerge from comparable main overhauls concurrently. HMS Montrose and Argyll have been revamped of their native Devonport. The latter will go on to be trials vessel for Sea Ceptor.

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