Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Almirante Cochrane, Duke and T23
Origin: United Kingdom
Parent System: Type 23
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1990
Total Production: 16
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Description: The Duke-class frigates have been designed to operate anywhere in the world. The 16 vessels of this class are the mainstay of the British surface combatant fleet with approximately 50% of the current inventory. Its primary mission is the anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare employing the proven Harpoon missile.
The Type 23 class frigates feature stealth design with reduced radar cross section. They can perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW), embargo operations, disaster relief, and surveillance missions. They are armed with VLS Sea Wolf missiles for self-defense against airborne threats such as aircraft and anti-ship missiles, a 114mm MK 8 naval gun, 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, two Mk 44 30mm close-in weapons, torpedo tubes and one Lynx or Merlin helicopter.
The Royal Navy ordered 16 Type 23 frigates with the last delivery due in 2002. The Type 23 class frigates will remain in the Royal Navy well into the 21st century.
On 27 January 2005, HMS Westminster re-joined the Royal Navy's fleet after a 12-month refit which provided sonar 2087, SSTD advanced anti-torpedo defense, new infrastructure to operate EH101 Merlin helicopter and a new computerized navigation system. Sonar 2087 will enable Westminster to effectively detect stealth underwater threats such as submarines and mini-submarines.
On 7 September 2005, the government of the United Kingdom and Chile signed an agreement valued at £135 million for the purchase of three ex-Royal Navy Type 23 frigates for the Chilean Navy. The three ships involved in this deal were: HMS Norfolk, Marlborough and Grafton. The Chilean Navy was expected to take delivery of these three ships by the end of 2008.
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