HMS Lancaster has returned home to Portsmouth, after completing a refit to keep her up to date for the next decade.
The Type 23 frigate has been given new Artisan 3D radar and air defence capabilities, provided by Sea Ceptor, which replaced the old Sea Wolf missiles.
The Sea Ceptor is designed to make HMS Lancaster more effective as part of a strike group, with the increased range of her air defence missiles meaning she can now defend herself as well as other ships.
Other refitting work included cleaning the hull and coating it with anti-fouling paint to prevent damage caused by marine life.
The 4.5-inch gun was serviced, engines and machinery were overhauled while the rest of the ship's areas were revamped.
Commander Will Blackett will take the frigate back to sea early in 2020 to commence equipment trials and crew training.
"The journey to take HMS Lancaster from engineering project, to ship, to warship is well underway. Returning to our base port is an important milestone which all onboard have keenly anticipated," Cdr Blackett said.
"The timing makes it all the more poignant – four years and one day since she left, HMS Lancaster is home for Christmas and looking forward to rejoining the front line in the year ahead."
HMS Lancaster will see out the remaining years of her service life as a Portsmouth frigate until she will be replaced during the 2020s by the Type 31 frigates.
Preparations for the refit commenced four years ago.
Eight of the Royal Navy’s 13 current Type 23 frigates are designated as anti-submarine specialists.
Five, including HMS Lancaster, are general purpose variants and will be stationed at HM Naval Base Portsmouth.
Cover image: HMS Lancaster (Picture: MOD).