Type 23 Duke Class (1990) FF
General Purpose Frigate

A total of 16 Type 23 Frigates were completed between 1990 and 2002. Which makes it the second largest class of British post-WW2 frigates. (Beaten only by the 26 Leander Class ships.)

They were originally intended as an anti-submarine frigate, and cheap replacement for the large and complex Type 22 frigates. However the Duke Class matured into a sophisticated general purpose frigate with substantial anti-surface ship and anti-submarine capabilities. The hangar and flight deck are designed to accommodate the Merlin HM 1 helicopter, but a Lynx was carried until the later Merlin's became available.

Virtually all the armament is carried in the foredeck making these ship vulnerable to being disabled by a single hit.

Modern weapon systems need a sophisticated computerised combat data and command system  The original CACS-4 system proved unsuitable and was cancelled in 1987, in favour of the SSCS (surface ship command system). But this was not available until the eighth ship, HMS Westminster, which commissioned in 1994. Meantime the earlier ships had to do without an integrated system and so were not available for deployment in the 1991 Gulf War. SSCS is being retrofitted to all these ships, while later Type 23's have the upgraded Phase III, IV or V SSCS.

They include a CODLAG propulsion system for quietness, and the superstructure is designed to reduce radar returns.

The ships are named after famous Dukes. 
(Note: Some sources refer to the class as Norfolk Class after the first ship completed.)


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Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.