The latest frigate to complete her a refit in Devonport sailed for the first time in almost 3 years on Friday (7th July).
HMS Montrose began her refit in 2014 and the opportunity was seized to fit her with the newly developed Sea Ceptor missile system, to keep her at the cutting edge of technology.
This, and other upgrades will allow her to operate in any of the world’s hot spots well into the future. Sea Ceptor and the new “Shared Infrastructure” Command System, the brains of the ship, provides the capability to protect Montrose and other units around her from a wide range of threats.
When she sailed, it was the first time at sea for a number of young sailors onboard.
When asked about her thoughts on her first trip away on a ship Engineering Technician Leigh Black said “After starting training in January 2016 at HMS Raleigh and then receiving Marine Engineer training at HMS Sultan for 8 months, I joined Montrose in January this year.
"Going to sea for the first time is exciting and I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I I’m ready and looking forward to it.
"I’ve come a long way from Hadston in Northumberland, and I joined the Navy for the adventure and to work in a field with genuine career prospects and this is all part of that.”
The Commanding Officer of the ship, Cdr Conor O’Neill said “Sailing today is the culmination of years of hard work by all the partners in this project, both Naval and Industrial, and is the start of our journey back to the operational fleet.
“Everyone onboard has been looking forward to this moment, and it is a proud day for all of us.”
Other work carried out included stripping the ship back to bare metal and inserting over 1000 patches of new steel to replace worn out areas after her 25 years of service, since her launch in 1992.
Babcock Marine has used over 750,000 man-hours of labour working on the hull as well as power generation, a new galley, improvements to living quarters and with over 10Km of electrical wiring and 5Km of piping replaced.
The ship leaves Plymouth to commence a period of trials and training in which the ship’s equipment and personnel will be tested, proving all the work carried out during the refit.
It will be followed by a period of Operational Sea Training, which will ensure that the ship and people are fully trained and ready to deploy in support of operations anywhere in the world.
Overall, £36 million has been invested in maintaining the capability offered by Montrose, keeping her up to date until she is replaced by the Type 26 frigates, the initial order for which was made at the start of July.
The RN has committed £3.7 billion to that project which, along with the recently sailed HMS Queen Elizabeth, the nation’s new aircraft carrier, will form the back bone of the Royal Navy into the future.