HMS Argyll (F231)

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Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll MOD 45153839.jpg
HMS Argyll, 2009
Name: HMS Argyll
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: September 1986
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 20 March 1987
Launched: 8 April 1989
Commissioned: 31 May 1991
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
  • Ne Obliviscaris
  • "Lest We Forget"
Status: in active service
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 23 Frigate
Displacement: 4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)[2]
Length: 133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam: 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in)
Speed: In excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 185 (accommodation for up to 205)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities:

The third and current HMS Argyll is a Type 23 'Duke' Class frigate. She is currently the oldest serving Type 23 frigate in the Royal Navy. Like all of her class she is named for a British dukedom, in this case that of Argyll. HMS Argyll was laid down in March 1987 by Yarrow Shipbuilders at Glasgow, and launched in 1989 by Lady Wendy Levene, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Paviors.[3] She was commissioned in May 1991. Argyll is currently based at Devonport Dockyard.

Argyll is the first Type 23 to be fitted with the new Sea Ceptor missile system.[4]

It is planned that she will retire in 2023.[5]

Operational history[edit]


In 2000, Argyll was part of the Royal Navy task force - Task Group 342.01 - — comprising Illustrious, Ocean, Iron Duke, Chatham, and four RFA ships — that deployed to Sierra Leone as part of the British military intervention in the Sierra Leone civil war. During those operations, Argyll acted as the West African Guardship and remained off West Africa until September 2000. Throughout this period Argyll operated with her Lynx HMA Mk 8 Helicopter. The Lynx undertook daily patrols and searches. The Lynx was instrumental to the successful completion of Operation Barras. During her deployment, the helicopter was scrambled to search for a missing passenger ferry. The aircraft's crew quickly located the vessel and provided escort for Argyll. Argyll saved fifty-eight lives from drowning. She was relieved by her sister-ship Iron Duke in September.[6] During this incident Argyll, assisted by HMS Ocean, laid the foundation for the Iron Duke Community School. This is a school for orphans in Freetown. President Kabbah of Sierra Leone decreed the school be named after the crew of Iron Duke for completing the construction of the six classrooms.[7]


2001 saw a change in command with Commander John Kingwell succeeding Commander Rick Wellesley.[8] In 2001, while in the Bay of Biscay, Argyll suffered an electrical fire that was quickly put out by the ship's damage control team, with the ship suffering only minimal damage.[9]

Argyll completed a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf protecting two oil platforms, working with the American, Australian and Iraqi Navies from February to August 2005.[10] The ship made a short visit to Boulogne, then to its home port of Inveraray and finally to Liverpool,[11] before undergoing Operational Sea Trials. Argyll successfully completed Operational Sea Training and acted as a contingency platform whilst H.M. Elizabeth II spent a week sailing on the Hebridean Princess in July 2006.

In September 2006 Argyll was deployed along with other ships such as Ocean and Albion where she completed two drugs raids on merchant ships totalling £50 million. They completed their operation in November of the same year.

HMS Argyll was in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons on 14 September 2007 when it was claimed that 41-year-old commanding officer Captain Nigel Chandler was replaced when the ship failed twice to pass the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) exercises. These exercises are taken every 18 months to ensure the ship and crew are ready for deployment.[12] In October 2007 Argyll returned to the Persian Gulf to take over from her sister-ship, Richmond.[13]

Thursday 3 April 2008 saw more than 500 friends and relatives welcome HMS Argyll as she returned to her home at Devonport after a deployment lasting 6 months in the Northern Persian Gulf. This was Argyll's second Gulf deployment to Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in three years. This deployment included one patrol which lasted 52 days from January to March 2008. HMS Argyll was also at the 'Meet Your Navy' exhibition at HMNB Portsmouth 2008.[14][15]

6 May 2008 saw the crew return to Argyll, with the crew bidding their commanding officer of 7 months, Commander Gavin Pritchard, a fond farewell. Pritchard was succeeded by Commander Peter Olive. Argyll was then to engage in a period of trials and training before entering a period of maintenance in June.[16]

11 May 2008 saw the Trans-Atlantic solo yacht race in Plymouth Sound started by the ceremonial cannon aboard Argyll. Dame Ellen MacArthur also attended the start of the race and Rear Admiral Richard Ibbotson, head of the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, was also on board Argyll.[17][18]

On 21 July 2008 Argyll led the parade of tall ships out of Liverpool ahead of the Tall Ships Race starting 23 July.

On 18 February 2009, Argyll sailed from Devonport as part of the Taurus 09 deployment under Commander UK Amphibious Task Group, Commodore Peter Hudson, She was joined on this deployment by Landing Platform Dock Bulwark, as Hudson's flagship, Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) Ocean, Type 23 Frigate Somerset and four ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.[19] Argyll returned to Devonport on 17 April from this deployment.[20]

In early October 2010, Argyll and her crew arrived in Plymouth last week after an 11-month refit which included 290,000-man-hours spent on modifications, upgrades and improvements."[21] She has received a new command system, upgrades to Sea Wolf, the Mod1 4.5-inch (114mm) gun, and mounts for new small calibre guns.[21] She was also given new boat-launching equipment.[21] "The refit included the replacing of two of the vessel's four diesel generators and one of her gas turbine engines."[21] Her ventilation system has been improved.[21] "Along with fresh paint on the upper decks she has been coated below the waterline with a special paint to prevent the build-up of sea life which would slow the ship. This also makes her more fuel-efficient."[21] HMS Argyll was the first Type 23 frigate to undergo a second major refit.[21]


HMS Argyll moored in the Royal Victoria Dock for DSEI 2017.

On Sunday 22 January 2012 it was announced that Argyll was part of a six-ship convoy which sailed through the Strait of Hormuz alongside French and United States Navy vessels, during a diplomatic dispute with Iran.[22] In a period after this she engaged in Exercise ‘Goalkeeper’ whilst still in the Middle East.[23]

On 30 June 2012, Armed Forces Day, she fired the salute in Plymouth as part of a steampast alongside RFA Mounts Bay, the Earl of Wessex was in attendance alongside the First Sea Lord.[24][25]

In 2013, she served a seven-month deployment to the Atlantic, having visited South Africa.[26] She also engaged in counter-narcotics work in the Eastern Pacific by travelling around Cape Horn and headed back to her home port via the Panama Canal.[27][28]

In March 2014, she accidentally fired a test (unarmed) torpedo whilst training at Devonport,[29] there were no injuries and minimal damage.

On 30 June 2014, she arrived in Hamilton, Bermuda for a three-day visit as part of her deployment to the North Atlantic and Caribbean.[30]

She arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on September 11, 2014 to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.[31]

On Thursday 25 September 2014, she arrived in Veracruz.[32]

On 6 October 2014, HMS Argyll visited George Town, Grand Cayman, after having been on counter-narcotics deployment in August 2014 as part of Operation Martillo.[33] From 9–13 October 2014 HMS Argyll paid an official visit to the Dominican Republic during the course of which her flight deck hosted the baptism of Stefania Rozsa, daughter of the British Ambassador. On 18 October 2014, she arrived in Bermuda to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Gonzalo.[34]

In 2014, a Royal Navy Lynx from Argyll identified a suspicious yacht in the Caribbean Sea, and a detachment of the US Coast Guard operating from Argyll seized $16 million worth of cocaine found on the yacht. The group had seized an even larger shipment earlier on the same deployment.[35]

In 2015, Argyll entered extended refit in Devonport; she returned to sea in February 2017 with a new principal weapon system, Sea Ceptor, and numerous modifications and alterations to her accommodation and working spaces.[36] Argyll is acting as the trials vessel for Sea Ceptor prior to resuming her operational duties and it was announced in September 2017 that she had undertaken the first firings of the new system earlier in the summer off the west coast of Scotland.[37]

In 2017, it was announced that Argyll will be sent to join military exercises in the Asia Pacific such as with the Five Power Defence Arrangements partners and with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence force.[38][39] Part of her mission is "to continue the pressure campaign on North Korea".[40]

In 11 March, 2019, Argyll rescued a 27-strong crew from a burning container vessel 150 miles off the coast of France.[41]

On 15 March 2019 the ship returned to HMNB Devonport after a nine month deployment to Southeast Asia.

Related images[edit]


School Crest of the Dollar Academy, affiliate of HMS Argyll.

In July 2017, GB Railfreight named a Class 66 locomotive Argyll in honour of HMS Argyll in a ceremony at Devonport.[43]


  1. ^ "Royal Navy Bridge Card, February 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. ^ Royal Navy Frigates: Type 23 Frigate,
  3. ^ "HMS Argyll - The Company's Adopted Frigate". Worshipful Company of Paviors.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Daily Hansard - Written Answers to Questions". UK Parliament. 6 September 2012.
  6. ^ "Summer 2000: Duties In Sierra Leone". The Worshipful Company of Paviors. 28 November 2000. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008.
  7. ^ "Iron Duke completes 33,000-mile voyage". Navy news newspaper. 26 February 2001.
  8. ^ "March 2001: New Captain in Command". The Worshipful Company of Paviors. 31 March 2001. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Fire on board HMS Argyll". Navy news newspaper. 3 April 2001.
  10. ^ "August 2005: In Home Waters". The Worshipful Company of Paviors. 24 August 2005. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008.
  11. ^ "HMS Argyll Arrives on Merseyside". Irish Sea Shipping. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Navy sacks Captain Calamity". News Group Newspapers Ltd. 14 September 2007.
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  15. ^ "Hundreds Cheer HMS Argyll Home To the UK". Royal Navy. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  16. ^ "HMS Argyll Returns to Work". Royal Navy. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008.
  17. ^ "HMS Argyll Starts Trans-Atlantic Yacht Race". Royal Navy. 9 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  18. ^ "HMS Argyll Launches Trans-Atlantic Yacht Race". Royal Navy. 12 May 2008. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008.
  19. ^ Royal Navy Website,
  20. ^ Royal Navy Website,*/changeNav/6568
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "HMS Argyll arrives home following major refit". Ministry of Defence. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  22. ^ "Iran escalation 'could see UK forces sent to Gulf". BBC News. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
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  24. ^
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  29. ^ HMS Argyll navy torpedo fired into Devonport wharf, 14 March 2014
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  32. ^ El Mercurio de Veracruz
  33. ^ "Navy warship visits Cayman". Cayman Compass. 7 October 2014.
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  35. ^ Drwiega, Andrew. "USCG Employs Lynx Helicopter to Catch Cocaine Carriers" Aviation Today, 29 October 2014. Accessed: 29 October 2014.
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  38. ^ "DSEI maritime conference 2017". UK MOD. 11 September 2017.
  39. ^ "UK security and defence collaboration with Japan steps up a level". 31 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Royal Navy warship to sail through disputed sea off China - Defence Secretary". Belfast Telegraph. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  41. ^ "Navy crew saves 27 from burning ship". 2019-03-11. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  42. ^ Affiliations : HMS Argyll : Type 23 Frigates : Surface Fleet : Operations and Support : Royal Navy
  43. ^

External links[edit]