BREAKING: Frigate numbers to drop in Portsmouth

HMS Richmond
HMS Richmond
HMS Richmond will be moving to Plymouth. Picture: Crown copyright

City loses a frigate in base-porting shake-up

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Picture: Malcolm Wells (150701-4775)

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FRIGATE numbers in Portsmouth are set to drop after the defence secretary announced a shake-up of where warships will be based.

Gavin Williamson today revealed that Portsmouth will now have five Type 23 frigates base-ported at it by 2023 – one less than the city currently has.

The shake-up will also see some vessels changing ports, with the eight anti-submarine warfare frigates now all based in Plymouth and the five general purpose ones in Portsmouth.

Among the new names to come to the city will be HMS Argyll, HMS Monmouth and HMS Montrose – all formerly based at Devonport Naval Base.

HMS Lancaster and Iron Duke are the only vessels to remain in Portsmouth from the current fleet. St Albans, Westminster, Richmond and Kent will all be based in Plymouth.

First to go will be Richmond, which will depart from Portsmouth in 2018.

The navy said the move will bring benefits to force generation, operational readiness, training and logistics as well as more stability for ships’ crews and families.

Rear Admiral Chris Gardner, assistant chief of naval staff (ships), said: ‘This move will bring benefits to the whole fleet of Type 23 frigates, bringing ships of the same purpose together in one place.

‘I want to reassure all our sailors that we will be managing the base moves as efficiently as possible, minimising the disruption to our people and their families.

‘The base port changes have been planned to occur during unmanned upkeep periods over a period of five years, to ensure a smooth transition of our people and maximise the benefits to our operational readiness.’

The changes will be staggered over a five year period.

The base port changes will take place during unmanned maintenance and upkeep period.

Portsmouth is currently home to the six Type 45 destroyers, two £3.1bn Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, as well as a host of minehunters and other patrol boats.