Kit powering Royal Navy's new fleet of Type 26 frigates will be tested when HMS Queen Elizabeth deploys in 2021

TECHNOLOGY that will soon power Britain’s most advanced fleet of frigates will be put to the test during HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational deployment.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 6:58 pm
HMS Richmond

HMS Richmond has been fitted with the next generation propulsion system that will one day be drive the more advanced Type 26 frigates through the seas.

The overhaul comes ahead of Richmond’s deployment with the 65,000-tonne Portsmouth aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden operational mission next year.

The submarine-hunting specialist will be among the strike group of warships expected to deploy with Queen Elizabeth, which will include a support vessel from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and at least one Type 45 destroyer.

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Taking to Twitter, a spokesman for the ship – which has also had a major weapons system upgrade – said: ‘Big milestone achieved with the Ship returning to the sea wall. We’ll be back at sea later this year.’

Richmond is expected to tackle her sea trails later this year as she ramps up her preparations to escort Queen Elizabeth next year.

The deployment is expected to see the Portsmouth-based leviathan sailing through part of the Mediterranean and the Pacific – including parts of the South China Sea region.

The navy said HMS Richmond will act as a ‘test bed for her successors’, because she’s the first ship in the fleet to be fitted with the PGMU propulsion system – a new generation of diesel generators.

A Royal Navy spokesman told Plymouth Live: ‘While in the hands of the engineers at Babcock, Richmond has undergone many of the same upgrades as the remainder of the frigate flotilla has received over the past few years, notably replacing the aged Sea Wolf air defence missile system with the new Sea Ceptor.

‘Where Richmond stands out, however, is as test bed for her successors in the Type 26/City class of frigates; she’s the first vessel to receive the PGMU propulsion system - a new generation of diesel generators, accompanied by a fully-modernised control and surveillance system, making it easier to control and monitor the engines... diagnose any problems.

‘Richmond’s marine engineers have been putting the new system through its paces, with an extensive series of trials that will ensure the frigate sails with the highest levels of confidence and operational capability when she begins her sea trials.’