Gunner on HMS Lancaster bridge wing during weapons trials 100620 CREDIT Royal Navy
Navy

HMS Lancaster Prepares For First Operational Deployment In Nearly Five Years

The Type 23 frigate is spending two weeks at sea conducting trials following a major refit.

Gunner on HMS Lancaster bridge wing during weapons trials 100620 CREDIT Royal Navy

HMS Lancaster is preparing for her first operational duties in nearly five years, after a period of extended readiness and a two-year refit.

The Queen’s Frigate, named after the monarch in her role as Duke of Lancaster, is spending two weeks off the south coast preparing for the frontline.

The refit provided her with new systems and sensors, including the Artisan 3D radar and the Sea Ceptor air defence system.

Commanding Officer, Commander Will Blackett, said: "Lancaster’s story from engineering project to ship and warship is now in its final few chapters.

"She is a fantastic ship, with a fantastic team and plenty more to offer UK defence over the months and years ahead."

Royal Navy personnel on HMS Lancaster leave Portsmouth for weapons trials 100620 CREDIT Royal Navy
The Type 23 frigate is spending two weeks at sea undergoing trials (Picture: Royal Navy).

The Navy said the training will make sure the 180-plus sailors and Royal Marines on board are ready for every possible eventuality on deployment.

This includes being prepared for chemical or nuclear incidents.

Firefighting and damage response teams also took part in an exercise earlier in the week.

The ship's 4.5-inch main gun was also put through its paces, being used at maximum elevation, depression and rate of fire, testing the gunbay team's handling of septthe 21kg shells beneath the turret.

The shells travel at more than twice the speed of sound and have a maximum range of 15 miles.

Petty Officer Alan Bates said: "It was great to finally be back at sea and use the gun.

"Having joined Lancaster over a year ago as the maintainer to get to function the gun was fantastic.

"We are now ready to move forward in our training.

"A lot of the junior members of the crew have never heard or seen the gun fire so it was a great demonstration to them about the impact the gun can provide," he added.

Over the next 10 days, there will be more training and trials focusing on the warship's weapons and sensors.

In September, the ship's company and the new systems will begin a two-month test as part of Operational Sea Training.

Cover image: Royal Navy.