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RN insists early frigate retirements will not affect availability

24th November 2021 - 10:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose. (Photo: MoD/ Crown Copyright)

Removing two Type 23 frigates from service early and extending the life of three others would enhance RN fleet availability, says Adm Sir Tony Radakin.

In a 23 November letter to Parliament’s Defence Committee, former First Sea Lord and soon to be Chief of the Defence Staff Adm Sir Tony Radakin detailed how a reduction in the RN frigate fleet would not reduce availability.

In the evidence, Radakin also confirmed that Duke-class Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose would be retired in July 2023.

The early retirement of the frigate was first announced in the Integrated Review in March 2021.

Radakin said that extending the service life of other Type 23s — HMS Argyll, Lancaster, and Iron Duke — through funded or completed refits would generate an additional 135 months of availability.

He added that the extension of these three frigates was funded by the early retirement of Type 23s Monmouth and Montrose, which will release around £100 million ($133.69).

Monmouth was retired earlier this year and was tipped as a possible gift to Greece as part of the UK’s bid for the Hellenic Navy frigate programme. France ultimately won a contract to supply Athens with new ships.

Radakin said that Monmouth and Montrose were due to undergo ‘lengthy refits’ between 2021-24, ahead of a 2026-2027 out of service date.

As a result, the removal of the frigates has only led to a 51-month reduction in availability.

Radakin insisted that the combination of the retirement and extensions would generate ‘additional 84 months of General-Purpose Type 23 availability between 2021-2029’. 

He added that this represents a 55% increase on the pre-Integrated Review plan.

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