HMS Westminster's Type 23 frigates form 50% of the total frigate/destroyer force in the Royal Navy. Originally designed for the principal task of anti-submarine warfare, they have evolved into powerful and versatile multi purpose ships with the capability to operate anywhere in the world. The effectiveness of these ships is enhanced by their stealth design, which reduces their radar signature significantly. In addition to the war fighting roles described above, the ship is trained to conduct a wide range of other tasks.
HMS Westminster commanding officer, Commander Tim Green, said: "The purpose of the visit is primarily to support the spectacular Sunderland International Airshow. Highlight of the visit will be a demonstration of her fighting capabilities as part of this weekend's Sunderland International Airshow, where spectators will see the modern Royal Navy in action, demonstrating its capability as a highly versatile maritime force.
Using fast and manoeuvrable rigid inflatable boats, with the ship's Merlin HM Mk 1 helicopter providing airborne support, Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel will mount a spectacular amphibious beach assault. We work closely with industry to equip our Armed Forces and this refit will boost several of HMS Westminster's systems, making her the most advanced frigate in the fleet. The Seawolf update that is being rolled out across the Type 23s is designed to combat the increasing threat of faster, lower flying and more manoeuvrable missiles today and also to guard against future advances. The system can now track an object the size of a cricket ball at twice the speed of sound from over 20 miles [32km] away and launch two counter missiles.
The HMS Westminster class Frigate was designed for anti-submarine operations and this refit will also see her state-of-the-art Sonar 2087 system updated to maintain this capability as well as an update that will increase the range and performance of her 4.5-inch (114mm) gun. The new 'brain' of the ship's weapons systems, called DNA(2), is also being installed as part of a class-wide programme upgrade across the Type 23 frigate force to help ensure that operational capability can be sustained and optimised for the future.