HMS Active (F171)

HMS Active was a Type 21-class frigate of the Royal Navy. Built by Vosper Thornycroft, Southampton, England, she was completed with Exocet launchers in 'B' position, the first of the class to be so fitted.

United Kingdom
Name: HMS Active
Builder: Vosper Thornycroft
Laid down: 23 July 1971
Launched: 23 November 1972
Commissioned: 19 July 1977
Decommissioned: 23 September 1994
Identification: Pennant number: F171
  • Festina lente
  • (Latin: "Hasten slowly")
Fate: Sold to Pakistan on 23 September 1994
Name: PNS Shah Jahan
Acquired: 23 September 1994
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 21 frigate
Displacement: 3,250 tons full load
Length: 384 ft (117 m)
Beam: 41 ft 9 in (12.73 m)
Draught: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
  • 4,000 nautical miles at 17 knots (7,400 km at 31 km/h)
  • 1,200 nautical miles at 30 knots (2,220 km at 56 km/h)
Complement: 177
Aircraft carried: 1 × Westland Wasp helicopter, later refitted for 1 × Lynx

Royal Navy service

Active participated in the Falklands War, setting out from HMNB Devonport on 10 May 1982 as part of the Bristol Group, reaching the task force on 21 of May. Active formed part of the main British Fleet, well east of the Falklands during the day, while escorting supply convoys to San Carlos Water or carrying out shore bombardment missions at night. On the night of 13/14 June, Active shelled on Argentine positions during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown.[1] HMS Active took part in five NGS (naval gun supports) at Bluff Cove, Fitzroy, Berkley Sound, Mount Tumbledown, and Port Stanley. By the mid-1980s, in common with the other surviving Type 21s, Active suffered from hull cracking. When the ship was next refitted steel plating was welded along each side of the ship to repair and reinforce the weak points. At the same time modifications were made to reduce hull noise.

Pakistan Navy service

Active decommissioned and was sold to Pakistan on 23 September 1994, being renamed Shah Jahan. Exocet was not transferred to Pakistan and Shah Jahan had her obsolete Sea Cat launcher removed. Signaal DA08 air search radar replaced the Type 992 and SRBOC chaff launchers and 20 mm and 30 mm guns were fitted.

Her flag was recently sold on the BBC programme Bargain Hunt. Shah Jahan remains in service with the Pakistan Navy. Between 11–21 May 2008, Shah Jahan participated in Exercise Inspired Union, a multi-national exercises in the North Arabian Sea. Other Pakistani warships included the frigate Badr and the replenishment tanker Nasr, as well as the Pakistan Air Force explosive ordnance disposal team, and the American destroyers Curts and Ross.[2]

Civilian connections

Active was the adopted ship of the town of Burnley in Lancashire, North-West England. The ship and its crew were granted the freedom of the town in 1989. Part of the town's inner ring-road between Westgate and the traffic lights at the Church Street junction with Colne Road is called Active Way. One of Active's anchors is displayed at the Anchor Retail Park next to Active Way.

See also


  1. Marriott 1983, p. 104.
  2. Lt. (j.g.) Bryan Boggs, USN (6 June 2008). "USS Curts, Pakistani Navy Participate in Officer Exchange Program". NNS080602-12. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs. Retrieved 27 December 2010.


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