Blackwood-class frigate

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HMS Exmouth. 1972.jpg
HMS Exmouth (1972) - following conversion to Gas Turbine propulsion
Class overview
Name: Type 14 or Blackwood class
Builders:
Operators:
In service: 1955 (RN) – 1985 (RN)
Completed: 15
Lost: 1 (+1 as target)
General characteristics
Type: Anti-submarine frigate
Displacement: 1,456 long tons (1,479 t) full load
Length: 310 ft (94.5 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.1 m)
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion:
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Range: 5,200 nmi (9,600 km; 6,000 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 112
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar Type 974 navigation
  • Sonar Type 174 search
  • Sonar Type 162 target classification
  • Sonar Type 170 targeting
Armament:
  • 3 × 40 mm Bofors gun Mark 7 (quarterdeck mount later removed)
  • 2 × Limbo Mark 10 anti-submarine mortars
  • 2 × twin 21-inch (533 mm) deck-mounted tubes for anti-submarine homing torpedoes (Blackwood, Exmouth, Malcolm and Palliser only, later removed)

The Type 14 Blackwood class were a ship class of minimal "second-rate" anti-submarine warfare frigates. Built for the Royal Navy during the 1950s at a time of increasing threat from the Soviet Union's submarine fleet, they served until the late 1970s. Twelve ships of this class served with the royal Navy and a further three were built for the Indian Navy.[1][2]

Design[edit]

The Type 14 frigates were designed to be cheaper and smaller than the expensive Type 12 frigates. Although they lacked gun armament, their anti-submarine armament of two Limbo mortars, Mk 20 torpedoes and sonar fit equalled the larger Type 12, and as the crews of the Type 14 concentrated almost entirely on practising anti-submarine warfare, they were often the most effective frigates in anti-submarine exercises until the mid 1960s. The class were entirely specialised for the anti-submarine role and hence had little capability in any other role, though they did perform fishery protection duties during the confrontations with Iceland over fishing rights.

In the late 1950s, during their time on patrols around Iceland to ensure that Iceland did not interfere with British fishermen's attempts to fish, problems were found with the hulls of the Type 14s in such heavy waters, so that their hulls had to be strengthened to cope with these patrols. However, they proved to be good seaboats throughout the dispute, which continued into the mid-1970s. The low profile of the superstructure was a deliberate design feature to confuse enemy attackers.[3] The Type 14 design was flawed by the lack of a gun, and also by a general lack of space. After experience with these frigates, the Admiralty decided to ensure that quality was the top priority of all ships, even though it meant having a smaller fleet.[citation needed]

One of the ships, Exmouth, was later converted 1966-1968 to act as experimental trials vessel for gas turbine propulsion, becoming the first major warship of the Royal Navy to be entirely powered by gas turbines. In this configuration she was easily distinguishable from other members of the class due to her larger (non-cylindrical, streamlined) funnel and large air intakes sited immediately fore and aft of the funnel. The success of these trials led to the adoption of all-gas turbine propulsion as standard on subsequent Royal Navy warship designs (Type 21 & 22 Frigates, Type 42 destroyers, 'Invincible' class carriers).[1]

Service[edit]

The Type 14s' limited size, at just 310 feet (94 m), restricted them from continuing past the 1970s and continuing the work as anti-submarine ships. Their small hull limited the extent of modifications and upgrades possible, preventing the Type 14s from being modernised with more effective weapons, effectively rendering them obsolete. All were decommissioned in the 1970s. The last operational were the gas powered Exmouth in 1977 and Hardy which attended the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 1977 and deployed again from the standby squadron in 1978.

In film[edit]

The 1960 Norman Wisdom film The Bulldog Breed was made in Portland harbour with co-operation from the Royal Navy, and features several of the Blackwood-class frigates. An early scene shows a flotilla of Type 14s led by Murray.

Ships[edit]

Royal Navy[edit]

The Royal Navy ships were all named after British captains. Many had been in the Napoleonic wars and some were present at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Indian Navy[edit]

Three ships were built for the Indian Navy in the late 1950s

Construction Programme[edit]

Navy Pennant Name (a) Hull builder
(b) Main machinery manufacturers
Laid down Launched Accepted into service Commissioned Estimated building cost[4] Fate
Royal Navy F54 Hardy (a) & (b) Yarrow and Co Ltd, Scotstoun, Glasgow [5] 4 February 1953 [6] 25 November 1953 [7] 8 December 1955 [5] 15 December 1955 [7] £1,449,000 [5] Operational to 1977,final active deployment from standby squadron in 1978, sunk as target 1983.[6]
F48 Dundas (a) & (b) JS White and Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight [5] 17 October 1952 [6] 25 September 1953 [7] March 1956 [5] 16 March 1956 [7] £1,434,000 [5] Broken up 1983.[6]
F91 Murray (a) & (b) Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd, Glasgow [8] 30 November 1953 [6] 22 February 1955 [7] 5 June 1956 [8] 5 June 1956 [7] £1,625,000 [8] Broken up 1970.[6]
F85 Keppel (a) & (b) Yarrow and Co Ltd, Scotstoun, Glasgow [8] 27 March 1953 [6] 31 August 1954 [7] 6 July 1956 [8] 6 July 1956 [7] £1,506,000 [8] Broken up 1979.[6]
F62 Pellew (a) Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne
(b) The Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Co Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne [8]
5 November 1953 [6] 29 September 1954 [7] 26 July 1956 [8] 26 July 1956 [7] £1,548,000 [8] Broken up 1971.[6]
F51 Grafton (a) & (b) JS White and Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight [8] 25 February 1953 [6] 13 February 1954 8 January 1957 [8] 8 January 1957 [7] £1,411,000 [8] Broken up 1971.[6]
F97 Russell (a) Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne
(b) The Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Co Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne [8]
11 November 1953 [6] 10 December 1954 [7] 7 February 1957 [8] 7 February 1957 [7] £1,581,000 [8] Broken up 1985.[6]
F78 Blackwood (a) & (b) JI Thornycroft and Co Ltd, Woolston, Southampton [9] 14 September 1953 [6] 4 October 1955 [7] August 1957 [9] 22 August 1957 [7] £1,769,000 [9] Broken up 1976.[6]
F88 Malcolm (a) Yarrow and Co Ltd, Scotstoun, Glasgow
(b) Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co, Wallsend-on-Tyne [9]
1 February 1954 [6] 18 October 1955 [7] December 1957 [9] 12 December 1957 [7] £1,582,000 [9] Broken up 1978.[6]
F94 Palliser (a) & (b) Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd, Glasgow [9] 15 March 1955 [6] 10 May 1956 [7] December 1957 [9] 13 December 1957 [7] £1,620,000 [9] Broken up 1983.[6]
F84 Exmouth (a) & (b) JS White and Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight [9] 24 March 1954 [6] 16 November 1955 [7] December 1957 [9] 20 December 1957 [7] £1,422,000 [9] Broken up 1979.[6]
F80 Duncan (a) & (b) JI Thornycroft and Co Ltd, Woolston, Southampton [10] 17 December 1953 [6] 30 May 1957 [7] October 1958 [10] 21 October 1958 [7] £1,960,000 [10] Broken up 1985.[6]
Indian Navy F149 [11] Khukri (a) & (b) JS White and Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight [11] 29 December 1955 [12] 20 November 1956 [11] 16 July 1958 [11] Torpedoed and sunk by the Pakistan submarine Hangor 9 December 1971.[12]
F144 [11] Kirpan (a) & (b) Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd, Glasgow [11] 5 November 1956 [12] 19 August 1958 [11] July 1959 [12] Transferred to Coast Guard Service 1978.[12]
F146 [11] Kuthar (a) & (b) JS White and Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight [11] 19 September 1957 [12] 14 October 1958 [11] November 1959 [12] Transferred to Coast Guard Service 1978.[12]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Marriott,Leo, 'Royal Navy Frigates Since 1945', Second Edition, ISBN 0-7110-1915-0, Published by Ian Allan Ltd (Surrey, UK), 1990
  2. ^ Purvis,M.K., 'Post War RN Frigate and Guided Missile Destroyer Design 1944-1969', Transactions, Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), 1974
  3. ^ Freidman, Norman (2006). British Frigates and Destroyers: The Second World War and After. p. 236. 
  4. ^ "Unit cost, i.e. excluding cost of certain items (e.g. aircraft, First Outfits)."
    Text from Defences Estimates
  5. ^ a b c d e f Navy Estimates, 1956-57, pages 238-9, List and particulars of new ships which have been accepted or are expected to be accepted into HM service during the Financial Year ended 31 March 1956
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Gardiner, Robert Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995, pub Conway Maritime Press, 1995, ISBN 0-85177-605-1 page 515.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Blackman, Raymond VB Jane's Fighting Ships, 1961-62 pub Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, page 270.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Navy Estimates, 1957-8, pages 234-5, List and particulars of new ships which have been accepted or are expected to be accepted into HM service during the Financial Year ended 31 March 1957
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Navy Estimates, 1958-59, pages 234-5, List and particulars of new ships which have been accepted or are expected to be accepted into HM service during the Financial Year ended 31 March 1958
  10. ^ a b c Navy Estimates, 1959-60, pages 230-1, List and particulars of new ships which have been accepted or are expected to be accepted into HM service during the Financial Year ended 31 March 1959
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Blackman, Raymond VB Jane's Fighting Ships, 1961-62 pub Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, page 114.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Gardiner, Robert Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995, pub Conway Maritime Press, 1995, ISBN 0-85177-605-1 page 173.

Publications[edit]

External links[edit]