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UK Type 23 frigate St Albans returns to sea following refit

The UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Duke-class Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans (F 83) has returned to sea following the completion of a major life-extension (LIFEX) refit.

St Albans departed HMNB Devonport on 1 March to begin a period of post-refit trials, the RN announced the same day.

After completing sea trials and subsequent UK-based training, the ship is planned to be returned to the fleet later in the second quarter of 2024.

St Albans is the penultimate Type 23 frigate to undergo the LIFEX refit and only the second Type 23 frigate (after HMS Richmond ) to successfully complete the power generation and machinery controls upgrade (PGMU).

The ship arrived at Babcock’s Royal Naval Dockyard, located inside HMNB Devonport, in 2019 to begin preparations for the LIFEX upgrade. The work – which took four-and-a-half years and 1.2 million working hours to complete – will enable St Albans to remain in service until the mid-2030s when the successor Type 26 City-class frigates start entering service.

The refit included 350 structural inserts and 5,500 steel repairs totalling 4.5 km of welding to ensure the ship meets the requirements of Lloyd’s Register certification. The living quarters were also overhauled to better meet the needs of sailors in the 2020s, the RN said.

Under the PGMU, the four original Paxman Valenta diesel generators have been replaced by MTU 12V 4000 M53B sets, the two electric propulsion motors have been overhauled, and there have been substantial changes and improvements to switchboards and cooling systems. Building on Richmond’s experience, St Alban’s

 

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