FRIGATE numbers in Portsmouth are set to drop after the defence secretary announced a shake-up of where warships will be based.
Gavin Williamson revealed the city 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 here.
Among the new names in Portsmouth 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 go to Plymouth.
First to go will be Richmond, which will depart from Portsmouth in 2018.
Rear Admiral Chris Gardner, assistant chief of naval staff (ships), said: ‘‘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 years. The base port changes will take place during unmanned maintenance and upkeep period.