HMS Kent (F78)

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HMS Kent carries out manoeuvres off the coast of Djibouti. MOD 45158509.jpg
Off Djibouti in 2015, with new "Kryten" gun after refit
United Kingdom
NameHMS Kent (F78)
NamesakeDuke of Kent
OperatorRoyal Navy
OrderedFebruary 1996
BuilderYarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down16 April 1997
Launched27 May 1998
Sponsored byPrincess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy
Commissioned8 June 2000
RefitLIFEX 2016-2018
MottoInvicta (Unconquered)
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Class and typeType 23 frigate
Displacement4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)[1]
Length133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)
SpeedIn excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement185 (accommodation for up to 205)
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried
  • 1 × Wildcat HMA2, armed with:
  • 2 × anti-submarine torpedoes (Martlet and Sea Venom ASM to be fitted in 2021/22)
  • or
  • 1 × Westland Merlin HM2, armed with;
  • 4 × anti-submarine torpedoes
Aviation facilities
Still with pre-refit main gun in 2010
Escorting French carrier de Gaulle off Djibouti in 2015
On exercise during BALTOPS 20

HMS Kent is a Type 23 Duke class frigate of the Royal Navy, and the twelfth ship to bear the name, although technically she is named after the dukedom rather than the county. Sponsored by Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy (daughter of the late Prince George, Duke of Kent), Kent was launched on 28 May 1998 and commissioned on 8 June 2000. She was the first ship to enter Royal Navy service in the 21st Century.[2][3]

Kent's lineage boasts sixteen Battle Honours from the three given to the first Kent of 46 guns built in 1653, to the five awarded to the ninth and tenth Kents of World War I and World War II.[2]

Service history


March 2002 saw Kent return from the Persian Gulf after a five-month record-breaking mission under Commander John Clink. Kent seized more than £4 million of oil and illegal cargo: a record for the time. This mission also included the boarding of MV Ismael, a vessel which strayed in and out of Iranian waters to avoid capture - waters which Kent was forbidden to enter.[4]

16 January 2006 saw Kent deploy on a 28-day training mission, under Commander Gavin Pritchard, to gunnery drills and firing off Gibraltar. This course was for the benefit of students on the Principal Warfare Officer course. This deployment included a two-day visit to Tunisia and a three-day visit to Barcelona.[5]

March 2006 saw the Football Association Chief Executive Brian Barwick visit Kent to show him around a modern Type 23 frigate. Mr Barwick was a guest at the RN vs. RAF football match at Havant, the tour around Kent was a pre-match treat for the FA chief.[6]

On 12 June 2006 Kent started a six-month deployment to Gibraltar, Malta and the Suez canal.[7] Saturday 16 June saw the traditional Gibraltar Rock race, this time Leading Chef Paddy Crawford won the race in a time of 24 minutes. Games of 'Bucket ball' and tug-of-war were additional sports the crew engaged in. Kent then sailed to the Suez Canal, where the crew took part in the traditional race-against-the-ship with rowing machines, taking turns to see if the crew could 'beat' the ship to the end of the canal. Eighty-one crewmembers rowed 2 kilometres to make the attempt, winning the ship in a combined time of 162 kilometres (101 mi) in 10 hrs 34 mins.[8]

During a visit to Soudha Bay, Crete, the ruby anniversary of the meeting of John and Susan Hardwick aboard the previous Kent was celebrated in style aboard the latest ship to bear the name. Mr Hardwick was a LSA(V) aboard the County-class predecessor to Kent when the then Miss Sittingbourne boarded. Ironically, the logistics officer on the ship at that time was Lieutenant Commander Mark Hardwick, son of the celebrating couple.[9]

10 August 2006 saw crew from Kent visit the Abeer2 school, in Kuwait City. The school provides education, care and therapy for children with Autism. In true Royal Navy style, 'Jack' set to work with paint and hammers to decorate the school and mend a roof in 45-degree Celsius heat. Needless to say the crest of the ship was amongst the items painted on the wall.[10]

Kent was in the Northern Persian Gulf working 22-day patrols safeguarding the oil platforms and checking shipping in the area as per United Nations Security Council Regulations.[11] Kent later conducted a self-maintenance period at Port Rashid, Dubai.[12] After 60 days of patrols, 47 security sweeps of vessels approaching the oil platforms and 515 queries of merchant vessels, Kent left the Northern Persian Gulf and set sail home. A four-day visit to Muscat in Oman followed, which included training with the Omani Navy. A hockey game resulted in a pleasing 7–0 victory.[13]

In Mumbai, Prince Andrew visited Kent.[14]

15:00 hours, 5 November 2006 saw Kent hand over her duties to Sutherland in Salalah, Oman.[15][16] Later on her way home, Kent made a goodwill visit to Beirut on Friday 17 November. The ship featured on national news and the crew visited some of the local sites.[17]

After Beirut, Kent visited Souda Bay and then the port of Civitavecchia, Italy. Algiers was the next stop, showcasing training to the Algerian Navy. A television conference and the chance to experience traditional Algerian food in the traditional style followed.[18]

February 2007 saw Kent awarded the Thales fleet active ASW award 2005/2006. Due to the busy period of deployments, the award ceremony had to be delayed until 2007.[19]

December 2007 saw Kent preparing for the customary Operational Sea Training period, training with aircraft and sea boat operations. With quieter evenings, quiz nights and sports television were the order of the day, along with 'Secret Santa' delivering inappropriate gifts for selected crew.[20]

January 2008 saw preparations for OST continuing afoot ready for the initial materials and safety audit.[21]

February 2008 HMS Kent was in refit for replacement of two of the four Paxman Valenta diesel engines.[22]

March 2008 saw an invitation from the Second Sea Lord to a Ladies Night aboard HMS Victory.[23] Operational Sea Training sees the customary missions around the fictional port of Freeport, played by HMNB Devonport. This exercise involves political tensions and seeing how the crew responds to escalation in a proportional, measured manner.[24]

Later in the OST exercises in April, the crew of Kent dealt with a simulated earthquake aftermath in the fictional 'island' of Bull Point at Devonport. The 'Away Team' had to respond to the needs of the survivors in the same manner as they would in a real situation – dealing with injuries, restoring water and food supplies and providing safe shelter.[25]

May 2008 saw Kent off the Channel Islands providing a demonstration of the Royal Navy to the local islanders. This was also the first Jersey Boat Show with Kent the largest vessel on show. The following Thursday saw the culmination of Operational Sea Training.[26]

Saturday 31 May 2008 saw Kent get underway from 'The Wall' at Portsmouth for a six-month deployment to South Asia and the Far East. This voyage included visits to countries such as Russia, China, Japan and Indonesia, as well as participation in various multi-national exercises.[27][28]

27 July 2008, saw HMS Kent hosting a solemn memorial service over the historic shipwreck of HMS Exeter in the Java Sea. Kent left the Indonesian port of Surabaya (just as Exeter had on the evening of 28 February 1942, on her last fateful voyage[29]), performed the ceremony and then continued on to Jakarta. Aboard were a BBC film crew and four of HMS Exeter's veteran survivors, along with several British dignitaries and high ranking naval officers.[30]

On her way home, a stop-off at Gibraltar saw the crews of Kent and Iron Duke race up the Rock in the traditional 'rock race', which is 3 miles (4.8 km) long and ascends 1,300 feet (400 m). Midshipman Cator was the winner with a time of under 24 minutes.[31]

In June 2010, Kent was sent on a mission to Sweden. The celebration of the official Queen's Birthday Party was held on board the British warship in Gothenburg harbour, the first time that the event has been held outside Stockholm. After a stop at Hanö island where tribute was paid to the fifteen British sailors who rest there, Kent then continued to Stockholm to join the celebrations for the Wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling.[32]

In December 2010, Kent was withdrawn from the deployable fleet and entered overhaul. Her Commander, Nick Cooke-Priest moved to command Iron Duke, leaving second-in-command, Lieutenant Commander Alasdair Peppe in charge.[33]

2011 to present

In July 2013, Kent was deployed to the Horn of Africa on anti-priracy and anti-drug missions.[34] She worked with the Combined Maritime Forces and returned home in October 2013[35][36]

In October 2014, Kent deployed to the Persian Gulf alongside USS Carl Vinson and other US Navy fleet units in the US Fifth Fleet's area of responsibility to help in efforts against smugglers, pirates, terrorists and also in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The ship visited many countries in the middle east, including Bahrain and Jordan. HMS Kent returned in May 2015.

In late 2016, Kent entered the Frigate Refit Complex in Devonport for an extensive refit which will include the fitting of the SeaCeptor missile system in place of Sea Wolf. After the refit, she was recommissioned in Portsmouth on 5 October 2018.[37]

On 12 August 2019, Kent deployed toward the Persian Gulf to relieve HMS Duncan and protect commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf region.[38][39]

Changing Rooms

On 2 September 2000, men and women on board HMS Kent participated in a Changing Rooms special to give the ship's mess rooms a makeover.[40]



  1. "Type 23 Frigate". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 19 January 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "HMS Kent – The Millenium Frigate". Royal Navy. 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  3. 21st century
  4. "HMS Kent Returns from Persian Gulf Mission". Royal Navy. 5 March 2002.[dead link]
  5. "Mediterranean Deployment For HMS Kent". Royal Navy. 13 January 2006.[dead link]
  6. "HMS Kent Gives FA Chief Taste of Navy Life". Royal Navy. 17 March 2006.[dead link]
  7. "Kent Sails for Deployment". Royal Navy. 26 June 2006.[dead link]
  8. "Kent Works Out". Royal Navy. 3 July 2006.[dead link]
  9. "Memories of 'Old Kent Road'". Royal Navy. 26 June 2006.[dead link]
  10. "HMS Kent Visit to Abeer2 Club for Autistic Children". Royal Navy. 10 August 2006.[dead link]
  11. "Kent in the Northern Persian Gulf". Royal Navy. 29 August 2006.[dead link]
  12. "HMS Kent". Royal Navy. 18 September 2006.[dead link]
  13. "Kent Says Goodbye to the Northern Persian Gulf". Royal Navy. 16 October 2006.[dead link]
  14. "Visit of HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York to HMS Kent". Royal Navy. 31 October 2006.[dead link]
  15. "Kent Prepares to Hand Over Gulf Duties". Royal Navy. 6 November 2006.[dead link]
  16. "HMS Kent". Royal Navy. 8 November 2006.[dead link]
  17. "HMS Kent visits Beirut". Royal Navy. 20 November 2006.[dead link]
  18. "Kent Visits Algiers on Her Way Home". Royal Navy. 8 December 2006.[dead link]
  19. "HMS Kent Double Winners in ASW". Royal Navy. 22 June 2007.[dead link]
  20. "Life on the Old Kent Road". Royal Navy. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  21. "Operational Sea Training Preparations". Royal Navy. 28 January 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  22. "Double Diesel Change". Royal Navy. 18 February 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  23. "Victory!". Royal Navy. 4 March 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  24. "Directed Shakedown Underway". Royal Navy. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  25. "'Team Kent' Tackles Make-Believe Mayhem". Royal Navy. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  26. "Summer-Shine Jersey Welcomes Kent". Royal Navy. 6 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  27. "HMS Kent Heads East". Royal Navy. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008.
  28. "Deployment Day For Kent". Royal Navy. 2 June 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008.
  29. "Heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (68)". World War II Database. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  30. "Photos of HMS Exeter Memorial Service in the Java Sea". Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  31. "Gibraltar Rock Race". Royal Navy. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008.
  32. "HMS Kent in Stockholm". The Scandinavian Royals Message Board. 6 September 2010.[dead link]
  33. "HMS Kent December update". Royal Navy.[dead link]
  34. "Kent finds cool water is a key weapon in the war against piracy". Royal Navy. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  35. "Female sailors 'Race for Life' on operations". Royal Navy. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  36. "HMS Kent returns from security and Anti-piracy patrols in Middle East". Royal Navy. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  37. Melton, Byron (5 October 2018). "HMS Kent rejoins Royal Navy fleet after recommissioning ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base". The News. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  38. James, William (12 August 2019). "British warship sets sail for tanker escort mission in Gulf". Reuters. London, UK. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  39. "HMS Kent and HMS Defender deploy on operations". Royal Navy. HMNB Portsmouth. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  40. PalasAthenea (7 September 2013). "BBC Changing Rooms – Episode 10 – Season 8". YouTube. Retrieved 6 April 2019.

External links