UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose decommissions

by Kate Tringham

The UK Royal Navy's eighth Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose is formally decommissioned from service during a ceremony held at HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, on 17 April 2023. (Royal Navy)

The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) eighth Type 23 Duke-class frigate, HMS Montrose (F 236), has officially retired after 29 years of active service.

The ship was formally decommissioned during a ceremony held at HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, on 17 April.

Montrose was laid down in November 1989, launched on 31 July 1992, and commissioned into service in June 1994.

From October 2014 to July 2017, Montrose underwent a major life-extension (LIFEX) refit that was intended to keep it in service until around 2027. The ship's early retirement, alongside that of sister ship Monmouth, was announced by the UK Ministry of Defence in its Defence Command Paper, Defence in a competitive age, published in March 2021, as part of efforts to free up resources for the RN's recapitalisation programme. The savings accrued will enable the three remaining Type 23 general-purpose frigates – Argyll, Lancaster, and Iron Duke – to run on until later in the decade.

Monmouth


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USN secretary calls for increased immigration to augment US shipbuilding labour

by Michael Fabey

US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said the country needs more blue-collar workers to meet navy shipbuilding needs at yards like Newport News Shipbuilding, shown here. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

To address the shortage of workers needed to build the number of ships needed to meet US Navy (USN) fleet plans, the country should seek to bring in more legal immigrants from foreign shores, according to US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

While acknowledging the impact of Covid-related issues on USN shipbuilding schedules on 23 April during an event at the Stimson Center, Del Toro said, “The bigger problem is the lack of blue-collar workers.”

Del Toro called on US lawmakers to “increase the amount of legal immigration” and work visas for potential shipbuilding work to come into country, despite the political divisions preventing such bipartisanship.

“We need to open up the spigot on legal immigration and allow blue-collar works to come here,” he said.

He underscored the need for retraining the new workforce for shipyard trades needed to build USN ships.


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French Navy conducts first synchronised firing of MdCN naval cruise missile

by Kate Tringham

MdCN is launched from the FREMM frigate Aquitaine on 18 April. (French Navy)

The French Navy has successfully conducted its first simultaneous test launch of the Missile de Croisière Navale (MdCN)naval cruise missile from a frigate and a submarine.

The test-firing was carried out by the service's lead multimission (FREMM) frigate Aquitaine, positioned off the coast of Brittany, and one of its Suffren (Barracuda)-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), located off the coast of Biscarrosse, on 18 April, the Ministry of Armed Forces of France confirmed the same day.

During the test the two vessels launched a co-ordinated strike against a ground target located at the DGA's Biscarrosse missile test centre at Landes in southwestern France – with both missiles engaging their target “in perfect synchronisation”, the Ministry of Armed Forces of France said.

In a statement issued the same day the French Navy said the test was carried out in operational conditions to strengthen the operational know-how and combat skills of the service.


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Singapore launches final Type 218SG submarine

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Singapore's fourth Type 218SG submarine, seen here before its launch ceremony on 22 April 2024. (Singapore Ministry of Defence)

German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has launched the last of four Invincible-class (Type 218SG) air-independent propulsion (AIP)-equipped diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

The vessel, which will be known in service as RSS Inimitable once commissioned, was launched on 22 April at TKMS' facilities in Kiel, Germany, the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced in a statement on the same day.

“Conceptualised and engineered jointly by the RSN, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), and industry partner TKMS, the Invincible-class submarines are customised for operations in Singapore's shallow and busy tropical waters, and they possess longer endurance and higher payloads,” read the statement.

“Following the launch, Inimitable will undergo a series of sea trials before delivery to Singapore,” the ministry added, further disclosing that the second-of-class SSK that was launched in 2022, Impeccable , is still undergoing a series of local sea trials with plans to fully operationalise and commission it in 2024.


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The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) eighth Type 23 Duke-class frigate, HMS Montrose (F 236), has officially r...

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