Upgraded Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster ready to hit the high seas after huge overhaul

A ROYAL Navy warship is ready to hit the high seas again after a major upgrade to her warfighting hardware.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 8:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 8:05 pm

HMS Lancaster is now bristling with the latest military kit, from the sophisticated Artisan 3D radar and improved navigational radar, to the newest Sea Ceptor missile system.

And after a series of tests at sea, Portsmouth-based Lancaster is now ready to be called upon by the navy.

The news came a month after the warship – nicknamed the Red Rose – celebrated its 30th birthday.

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HMS Lancaster pictured returning to Portsmouth in December after her major refit. Photo: AB Chris Sellars/Royal Navy

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Commander Will Blackett, Lancaster’s captain, said: ‘Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been maintaining our focus on bringing Lancaster back to readiness so that we can play our part in Royal Navy operations again.

‘My crew have done brilliantly well getting us to this point but there is still a lot of hard work to get through.

‘HMS Lancaster has been a fabulous asset to the nation across three decades and our goal is to make these final years of her service the finest of all.’

Pictured left to right: navigator 'Navs' Lieutenant Webber and and Commander Will Blackett, commanding officer of HMS Lancaster, during an exercise at sea. Photo: Royal Navy

The ship’s crew used their latest spell at sea to practice drills and scenarios including their response to attack by multiple small craft, simulated by patrol boats HMS Exploit and Ranger, tackling a fire in the galley, and gunnery with close-in weapons and the main 4.5in gun.

Launched in 1990 and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1992, she will remain based in Portsmouth for the fourth decade of her service.

Her refit was carried out at Devonport Naval Base, in Plymouth, and she returned to Portsmouth in December.

Next on the ship’s diary will be summer leave, followed by weapons training and then six weeks of fleet operational sea training to prove the ship’s company, and the vessel’s systems, are ready for global deployment.

A gunner watches from HMS Lancaster. Photo: Royal Navy

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