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HMS Portland is back in the water as refit passes milestone

24 February 2020
The waters lap around the hull of HMS Portland once again as shipwrights and engineers reach a milestone in her major overhaul.

The second youngest frigate in the Fleet has been ‘flooded up’ in her home base of Devonport and moved out of the huge shed where she’s been for the past two years.

Having completed external work on her hull and superstructure – including the addition of the Artisan 3D radar on top of the main mast – the team at Babcock opened the sluices to the dry dock inside the Frigate Refit Complex and, once Portland was afloat, edged her out into the neighbouring basin for the final stages of the revamp.

The Type 23 is the latest vessel in the 13-strong flotilla to undergo the LIFEX (Life Extension) upgrade which will help see the class through to the end of their active careers (in Portland’s case, the mid-2030s).

Aside from installation of Artisan, the improvements include new engines, ripping out the obsolete SeaWolf air defence missile, installing its successor Sea Ceptor, and generally overhauling machinery, computer and IT systems onboard, as well as refurbishing mess decks designed in the 1980s to meet the needs and expectations of Millennial/Generation Z sailors.

Once the refit is finished and sea trials/training are complete, the Devonport-based warship will resume her duties as one of the UK’s dedicated anti-submarine frigate.

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