Type 23 frigate

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HMS Richmond

The Type 23 frigate is a warship class of the Royal Navy also known as the Duke class. Sixteen of this class have been built, with the final vessel, HMS St Albans (F83) launched in May 2000. These vessels currently comprise around half of the entire surface escort fleet of the Royal Navy.

The frigate was initially designed as a light anti-submarine warfare platform, with a Lynx or EH-101 Merlin active dipping sonar helicopter, to replace the frigates of the Leander class. The frigates, with no anti-air armament and which would operate primarily in the North Atlantic, would be resupplied by a large force of Fort class replenishment ships. These supply ships were to be fitted with the Sea Wolf missile system for protection of the frigates. Constraints on the navy and the experiences of the Falklands War led to a redesign of the frigates with the addition of a main gun, and a reduced radar signature. The frigate's role was further expanded to cover all forms of naval operations with the addition of Harpoon and Sea Wolf missile systems.

HMS Norfolk (F230) was the first of the class to enter service, commissioned on June 1, 1990 at a cost of 135.449 million. Later vessels cost 60-96 million. The annual costs of running a Type 23 is around 16 million.

On July 21 2004, in a review of defence spending, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced HMS Norfolk, HMS Marlborough (F233) and HMS Grafton (F80) were to be paid off. Given that the oldest vessel is just over ten years old it seems likely that these would be sold. The governments of Chile, Belgium and Pakistan have all expressed an interest in purchasing all three of the warships.


Length: 133m (436.2ft)
Beam: 16.1m (52.8ft)
Displacement: 4,900 tonnes fl
Crew: 185
Power: CODLAG (Combined Diesel, Electric and Gas). Two Rolls-Royce Spey 34,000hp (25MW) gas turbines; two Alstom 1.5MW electric motors.
Speed: 28kts (52km/h) maximum. 12,500km at 15kts (28km/h)
Aircraft: Lynx Mk 8 helicopter
  • Air/surface Search: Plessey Type 996, 3D
  • Navigation: Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 or Racal Decca Type 1008
  • Fire control: 2 Marconi Type 911
  • Bow sonar: Ferranti/Thompson-Sintra Type 2050
  • Towed sonar: Dowty Type 2031Z to be replaced by Type 2087


Name Pennant Builder Launched Commissioned Home port
HMS Norfolk F230 YSL, Glasgow July 11 1987 November 24 1989 Devonport
HMS Argyll F231 YSL April 1989 May 30 1991 Devonport
HMS Lancaster F229 YSL May 24 1990 May 1 1991 Portsmouth
HMS Marlborough F233 Swan Hunter , Wallsend January 21 1991 June 14 1991 Portsmouth
HMS Iron Duke F234 YSL March 2 1991 May 30 1991 Portsmouth
HMS Monmouth F235 YSL November 23 1991 1993 Devonport
HMS Montrose F236 YSL July 31 1992 June 2 1994 Devonport
HMS Westminster F237 Swan Hunter February 9 1992 1993 Portsmouth
HMS Northumberland F238 Swan Hunter April 1992 May 1994 Devonport
HMS Richmond F239 Swan Hunter April 6 1993 October 1996 Portsmouth
HMS Somerset F82 YSL June 24 1994 September 20 1996 Devonport
HMS Grafton F80 YSL November 5 1994 May 1997 Portsmouth
HMS Sutherland F81 YSL March 9 1996 July 4 1997 Devonport
HMS Kent F78 YSL May 28 1998 February 2000 Portsmouth
HMS Portland F79 Marconi Marine (YSL) December 15 2000 May 3 2001 Devonport
HMS St Albans F83 BAE Systems Marine (YSL) May 6 2000 November 2001 Portsmouth

Type 23 frigate
Norfolk | Argyll | Lancaster | Marlborough | Iron Duke | Monmouth | Montrose | Westminster | Northumberland | Richmond | Somerset | Grafton | Sutherland | Kent | Portland | St Albans

List of frigates of the Royal Navy

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