The Royal Navy warship HMS Argyll has sailed to sea following a 20-month refit refit in her baseport of Devonport, Plymouth.
The Type 23 frigate sailed with the very latest Royal Navy sensors and equipment newly fitted, in particular the new Sea Ceptor air-defence missile system, for which she will lead the first acceptance trials for the class of warship in the Navy later in the year.
Her crew, led by the captain, Commander Toby Shaughnessy, has been working hard with the MOD industrial partner Babcock, who delivered the refit to get her ready for sea. Recently completing the last of her pre-sailing machinery trials and a busy period of safety drills, the 171-man crew is delighted to be back at sea.
Commander Shaughnessy said: “It is always extremely challenging to re-generate our ships following their routine periodical refits. They are complicated machines and the vast array of equipments need close attention when we turn them on again after such a long period in dry dock. I am very proud of the determination and professionalism of my crew throughout this busy period in getting the ship ready to return to sea. We look forward to rejoining the fleet and contributing to its global operations once again.”
HMS Argyll will consolidate her safety drills at sea before a short period of post-refit trials. She will return to full operations with her sister Devonport ships thereafter.
Babcock Warship Director, Mike Whalley, said: “We are delighted to play our part in returning HMS Argyll to sea in a significantly improved material state and with enhanced capability. This has been the most complex Type 23 upkeep ever undertaken in Devonport – and the first UK warship class to have its missile system changed mid -life since the 1970s. Key learning gained throughout the project will enhance our ability as class lead to life extend the rest of the class.’’
This represents the culmination of over 600,000 man hours of work at the Babcock Frigate Support Centre in Devonport Royal Dockyard. This is Babcock’s completion of the first Type 23 ‘life-extension’ upkeep, designed to extend the ship’s operational life from 18 to 35 years: maintaining, updating and upgrading capability for the 21st century.