An "old" shipmate of mine was on standby for the Norfolk during build. Talking to one of the Jock dockies, he asked what the ship was like to build. Expecting a complimentary response and thinking that he was proud of his work, the dockyard matey's reply was less than enthusiastic to say the least. No wonder they were initially called the Skoda class. Â£50m each compared to the then price of Â£250 for a batch 3 22.
Out-of-service dates for the UK's Type 23 frigates have been postponed to 2023-36
Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean will remain in service until 2022, four years later than previously planned
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to retain the Royal Navy's (RN's) 13 Duke-class (Type 23) frigates in service for up to 36 years - twice as long as originally envisaged.
When conceived in the early 1980s as a Cold War anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigate, the Type 23 had an 18-year design life. This was later increased to over 25 years.
However, out-of-service dates (OSDs) released by the MoD on 6 November 2008 reveal that force planners have recently added a further four to eight years to the operational life of each ship, giving them a revised lifespan of between 32 and 36 years.
In their original role, the frigates were intended to conduct relatively short-duration towed array patrols in the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap. The 18-year design life was predicated on two factors: the need to be significantly cheaper to procure than the previous Type 22 frigates; and a policy decision to abandon costly and complex mid-life upgrades on account of their high cost and limited return.
Replying to a parliamentary written question, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said that HMS Argyll - the oldest Type 23 in RN service - was now scheduled to serve through to 2023, extending its career from 28 to 32 years.
In the most extreme case, HMS Sutherland - which commissioned in 1997 and has just completed a 12-month-long refit - will serve through to 2033. This is eight years later than the previous MoD forecast, and twice its original design life.
Although originally built for a deep water ASW role, the Type 23s have over the last 15 years been employed as general-purpose ships for extended duration global deployments. Eight ships are receiving the new Sonar 2087 low frequency/active passive sonar and are primarily roled for task group support. Sutherland is the latest Type 23 unit to receive Sonar 2087, emerging from Babcock's Rosyth dockyard in mid-November after a refit costing GBP35 million (USD52 million).
The extension to the Type 23 OSDs is expected to challenge platform and machinery upkeep as the vessels grow older. It will also demand further capability upgrades to ensure that the ships remain viable in the late 2020s and early 2030s.
Ainsworth also announced a four-year extension in the planned life of the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (shifting its OSD from 2018 to 2022) and an additional three to four years for the four Broadsword-class (Type 22) Batch 3 frigates. The Type 22s will now remain in service until 2019-22, by which time each ship will be over 30 years old.
In a reply to Jane's regarding the announced service-life extensions, the MoD stated: "The out-of-service dates [OSDs] for the Type 22 and Type 23 frigates have been revised a number of times in recent planning rounds. In some cases these revisions have shortened the assumed service lives of these ships, but in most cases they have extended them; extending the service of any existing ship to meet emerging requirements, or to maintain overall fleet capability until the full introduction of newer vessels, is nothing new.
"Indeed, maintaining a capable ship beyond its original OSD may well represent the best-value option available. Such decisions are not taken lightly and the costs, benefits and risks of any extension are carefully considered in every case. In the long term, the Royal Navy is committed to an equipment programme that seeks to ensure that the ships that it operates remain among the most advanced and effective in the world and fully capable of doing all that is expected of them."
Extending the life of these ships sounds like a paper exercise as I do not detect from this thread any measures actually to make the ships last longer. The plumbers are going to have a ball trying to keep these ships going in the 2020s if my 1960s recollections of the inadequacy of ships not then yet twenty years old is anything to go by. Relying on old ming could be costly and unpredictable to say the least.
If the 23s were designed for just one role then one lesson that hadn't been taken on board was that whenever this has been done, the ships concerned have always ended up doing something completely different. Of course the 23s might be back in the Denmark Strait eventually - I just hope they are still seaworthy.
The bit that concens me is the extension of the Batch 3 T22s by an extra 3 years. From a Combat System perspective they were overdue for an upgrade some time back and some options were looked at to harmonise with T23s and T45s about 2-3 years ago but there wasn't any money to take it forward so the operators are stuck with CACS. Additionally CACS will not be supported by MCTS so the hands on training for CACs will only be available on-board ship. What a set-up for Ops Room teams to contend with for another 11 years or so.
I'm new and want to join the navy as an officer, but all I'v heard are bad comments about the supposedly very good T45's, and now this page is telling me that the T23's are not very well designed and the T22's. Which I thought were very powerful ships in the past but now seemed to be dispatched to duty in the Gulf, even if this is where the main conserntration of the Navy is surly they should be on duty (I think with CTF156) covering the Aden. So is the Navy still a effective fighting force that I belive it to be? Or has it been down graded to a patrol force covering huge areas, but seeming to be a very small fleet for such an important and nessary job? I truly truly belive the navy is the best service in the armed forces but can anyone agree with me. Or is that just passed history.