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UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigates Argyll and Westminster to retire

Two more Royal Navy Type 23 frigates, HMS Westminster (pictured) and HMS Argyll , will be retired from service. (NAVYPIX/Richard Scott)

The Royal Navy's (RN's) Duke-class (Type 23) frigates HMS Argyll (F 231) and HMS Westminster (F 237) will be retired from service, the UK defence secretary has confirmed.

Speaking at the First Sea Lord's Sea Power Conference 2024 in London on 14 May, defence secretary Grant Shapps said that Argyll has been sold to BAE Systems and will be used to support apprentice training at the company's Clyde Shipbuilding Academy in Glasgow in line with the government's agenda on skills and shipbuilding capacity. Westminster , meanwhile, will be scrapped.

Westminster and Argyll are being retired after 30 and 33 years in service respectively. Westminster was laid down in January 1991, launched in February 1992, and commissioned in May 1994, while Argyll was laid down in March 1987, launched in April 1989, and commissioned in May 1991.

The two frigates were among the first Type 23s to undergo their final Life Extension (LIFEX) refit programmes at Babcock's Devonport Royal Dockyard facility, with work on Westminster being carried out over 30 months from October 2014 to March 2017 and work on Argyll taking place over 24 months from May 2015 to April 2017.

The announcement of Westminster 's decommissioning is not unexpected as the ship has been laid up alongside at Devonport dockyard since late 2022, when it is understood that plans for a refit were suspended due to the ship's poor material condition.


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