Duke-class frigate rededicated to the Royal Navy fleet after major revamp

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet Storyline: HMS St. Albans

After 20 years of continual service across the globe, HMS St Albans paused operations in 2019 in order to begin an intense refit, known as the LIFEX (life extension) upgrade.

Although the ship has been back at sea since March this year, this weekend saw her official return to the fleet, with a ceremony and celebration in Portsmouth.

Several weapons and sensors have been upgraded and all four diesel engines have been replaced, as well as approximately 350 more structural enhancements to strengthen the frigate. This renovation will carry HMS St Albans into the middle of the next decade, making her more efficient, reliable and able to meet the needs of sailors in the 2030s.

HMS St Albans’ Commanding Officer Commander Helen Coxon said:

“Rededicating HMS St Albans is a significant milestone in our regeneration journey, as we transition from Engineering Project to Warship. Regenerating a frigate is a challenging time, with complex trials on cutting-edge equipment. But it is the people and the support from their loved ones that is central to our success. It was fantastic that affiliates, friends and families of our ship’s company have been able to join the celebrations.”

The rededication ceremony on Sunday 19th May saw approximately 160 friends and family of the ship’s company in attendance, alongside the ship’s sponsor Lady Essenhigh and other VIPs and dignitaries. All guests were invited to watch the ceremony, parade and were even invited onboard for a tour of HMS St Albans.

AB Ryan Keogh, the youngest member of HMS St Albans’ ship’s company, said:

“It’s been great to have family and friends join us for the rededication ceremony, showing them where we live and work whilst we’re at sea regenerating for operations.”

HMS St Albans will now continue sea trials, before beginning Operational Sea Training (OST) off the coast of Plymouth later this year.