The Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth has sailed for the first time after an 18-month refit in Plymouth having been upgraded with the latest cutting edge technology.
The ship, known as the ‘Black Duke’ after James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth, sailed from HM Naval Base, Devonport, for sea trials in order to demonstrate Her status as a world leader in Her field.
The ship’s captain, Commander Philip Tilden said: “It is important not to underestimate the monumental and complex effort put in by both my ship’s company and our industrial partners to get the ship to sea today after such an extensive refit. In particular, at this significant milestone my team in the ‘Black Duke’ can be very proud that the huge personal investment they have made to date will ultimately benefit our nation for many years to come.”
HMS Monmouth entered refit at the beginning of 2014 and has seen a significant amount of structural work to her superstructure, which has included approximately 17 tonnes of new steel covering an area of 220 square metres and over 1.1km.
The focus will now move to testing Her engines, as well as trialling the latest updates to her weapons and computer systems; including the new Type 997 medium range radar, 4.5 inch gun and Seawolf missile system.
Lieutenant Commander James Holgate, the ship’s weapon engineer officer said: “Having brought Monmouth into refit over 18 months ago it is a real honour to finally get the chance to reap the benefits of the hard work put in by all.”
Following a significant changeover of personnel, over 90 percent of the ship’s company will be sailing with the Type 23 frigate for the first time with approximately 30 percent making their maiden voyage.
HMS Monmouth’s youngest sailor Engineering Technician (Weapons) Harry Thomas, 18, from Anglesey, said: “I am looking forward to going to sea for the first time since I joined the Royal Navy 18 months ago. This is what I joined the Navy to do and I cannot wait to put all my training into practice for the first time at sea.”
HMS Monmouth will spend the next few months conducting her sea trials before undertaking training and endorsement which will get Her ready to be deployed on operations whenever and wherever tasked.