Being prepared for renewed front-line duties after a spot of TLC is Her Majesty’s Ship Kent, currently in the hands of the Royal Navy’s ultimate assessors. Since then she’s conducted patrols in home waters and visited her namesake county, before undergoing a short but complex overhaul in her home base. The Portsmouth-based frigate is gearing up for her first deployment since an epic seven months accompanying HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group to the Pacific Rim and back. To ensure the Type 23 frigate is available for high-tempo operations, a significant amount of effort is continually required from many organisations across the MOD, Royal Navy, ship’s company and, in the case of Portsmouth-based ships, BAE Systems, all working together with the common aim of completing the overhaul on time.
“HMS Kent’s latest engineering support period was a complex project and while there were emergent engineering challenges, I am very pleased that the entire team – ship’s staff and BAE Systems alike – worked closely together to overcome all issues in short order,” said the frigate’s Commanding Officer Commander Jez Brettell.
Claudia Roberts, Type 23 Waterfront Support Manager said: “Completing HMS Kent’s support period on time was a superb achievement for the entire team particularly when you consider the extent of the work – which included the removal and maintenance of the diesel generator – required to enable the ship to carry out onward tasking.”
For Kent that meant replacing one of her diesel generators and overhauling another which had passed 12,000 hours (71 weeks or one year and four months) running continually, each one producing 1,700 brake horse power (the engine on a family car typically generates 120-200 bhp). In addition, many capability upgrades were completed including to the cutting-edge 997 ‘Artisan’ radar as well as the ship’s gyro system which provides positioning essential input information to weapons and sensors on board. The support period also provided the opportunity for essential maintenance to be carried out to ensure the ship is fully prepared for any potential future tasking. After sea trials to shake off the cobwebs of a few weeks alongside, the ship has now switched her attention to returning to front-line duties, undergoing Operational Sea Training off Plymouth.
HMS Kent is a Type 23 Duke class frigate of the Royal Navy, and the twelfth ship to bear the name, although technically she is named after the dukedom rather than the county. Sponsored by Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy (daughter of the late Prince George, Duke of Kent), Kent was launched on 28 May 1998 and commissioned on 8 June 2000. She was the first ship to enter Royal Navy service in the 21st century. Kent’s lineage boasts sixteen Battle Honours from the three given to the first Kent of 46 guns built in 1653, to the five awarded to the ninth and tenth Kents of World War I and World War II. On 12 August 2019, Kent deployed toward the Persian Gulf to relieve HMS Duncan and protect commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf region. In 2021, Kent deployed to the Pacific as part of the Royal Navy’s carrier strike group.