Royal Navy HMS Lancaster has departed Portsmouth Naval Base, marking the completion of a period of maintenance and upgrades delivered by BAE Systems to optimise her for upcoming deployments. The Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate will now spend a brief period on NATO tasking ahead of further deployments. Like all Type 23s, HMS Lancaster is a highly versatile multi-role warship. HMS Lancaster is a Duke-class Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 May 1990. The ship is known as “The Queen’s Frigate”, the Duke of Lancaster being a subsidiary title of the Sovereign. In the past year, HMS Lancaster has undergone three major Fleet Time Support Periods (FTSPs) with BAE Systems.
“In preparation for her tasking our teams have delivered three highly successful FTSPs. We are immensely proud of the work we have done. The hard work and expertise of the team throughout these major maintenance and upgrade periods alongside their agile responses to changing requirements and emergent work, means HMS Lancaster will leave Portsmouth optimised for any role the Royal Navy should require of her. ”All at BAE Systems extend their thanks to the ship’s staff for their close collaboration and input throughout HMS Lancaster’s support periods and wish the crew a safe and successful onward journey,” commented Dean Kimber, Head of Asset Management for BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business.
In order to optimise and upgrade her capabilities, including:
Upgrades to the bridge, messes and crew accommodation facilities
The swap-out of two diesel generators simultaneously, a rare and significant undertaking which was completed ahead of schedule
New capabilities across communications, navigation and defence systems
Planned maintenance of various mechanical systems such as valves and propellers alongside emergent tasks such as hull maintenance and deck repairs
HMS Lancaster was originally allocated the pennant number F232 until it was noted that the 232 is the Royal Navy report form for groundings and collisions and therefore considered unlucky. She is one of the few ships left in the fleet with some female officers but mess decks which are men-only. It is quite common when she has returned from long operations that she is flown over by the Avro Lancaster bomber which is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby. HMS Lancaster underwent a life extension refit (LIFEX) at HMNB Devonport from 2017 to 2019 which included fitting of the Artisan 3D radar, Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles and strengthening the backbone of the ship. The ship was returned to operations in July 2020.