ACCORDING to her crew she was a ‘building site' just months ago – but HMS Kent is now gleaming and ready to serve once again.
The Type 23 frigate formally rejoined the Royal Navy’s fleet this morning at a sun-drenched rededication ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base.
It came after the submarine-hunter returned home to Portsmouth in August, alongside HMS Defender, after 18 months of refit works at Devonport in Plymouth.
Now bolstered with new command and missile systems, the warship is completing sea trials and will embark on a Nato deployment next year.
HMS Kent’s commanding officer, Andrew Brown, said today’s celebration was ‘poignant’ – uniting the ship’s company, their loved ones and dignitaries.
‘This a momentous moment for the ship’s company and is the culmination of a lot of hard work,’ he said.
‘The transformation has been huge, internally and externally, and what we see now was a building site as little as six or seven months ago.
‘In terms of military capability and what she can deliver, she is at the cutting-edge.’
Equipped with the missile system Sea Ceptor, the jewel in the crown of its refit, the warship is primed to defend itself from the air when on deployment.
This morning’s ceremony also featured a presentation of long service and good conduct medals, as well as a reception, lunch and cake-cutting.