HMS Arrow (F173)
|Laid down:||28 September 1972|
|Launched:||5 February 1974|
|Commissioned:||28 July 1976|
|Decommissioned:||1 March 1994|
|Identification:||Pennant number: F173|
|Fate:||Sold to Pakistan on 1 March 1994|
|Acquired:||1 March 1994|
|Status:||Ship in active service|
|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)|
|Range:||4,000 nmi (7,408 km; 4,603 mi) at 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × Westland Wasp helicopter, later refitted for 1 × Lynx|
Arrow participated in the Falklands War, engaging with Argentine aircraft, a submarine, and firing at land forces in Darwin, Goose Green, and Mount Longdon. She also rescued most of the surviving crew of HMS Sheffield.
Falklands War service
During the 1982 Falklands War, Arrow started the bombardment of enemy positions at Port Stanley airfield on 1 May (the first munition landed on the Falklands), and the ship was the first to be hit by an Argentine Air Force fighter, sustaining minor damage to the funnel, and the first human casualty (minor shrapnel wounds) of the conflict.
On 2 May Arrow was assigned to a three-ship Surface Action Group (SAG) against what was thought to be an Argentine surface ship south of East Falkland. With the Exocets at high readiness the mission was aborted when the ship's navigator identified the supposed target as an island.
On 4 May she assisted in extinguishing the fires and evacuating the crew of the Type 42 destroyer Sheffield, which had been struck by an Exocet missile. The crew showed conspicuous bravery in this rescue effort, saving 225 of the 266 surviving crew of Sheffield, and Arrow's captain, Commander (later Captain) Paul Bootherstone was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry during the action.
On 6 May Arrow conducted a bombardment of Argentine positions at Fox Bay West Falkland.
On the night 10 /11 May, Arrow lay at the northern end of the channel which separates West and East Falkland whilst Alacrity transited it in a south to north direction to assess whether the channel was mined which could prevent the later landings at San Carlos Water. Alacrity duly transited the channel on exiting at speed. Unknown to Arrow and Alacrity an Argentine submarine was in the area. Argentine submarine ARA San Luis fired a torpedo which smashed Arrow's towed decoy. A second torpedo impacted the ship’s hull but failed to detonate due to the warhead failing to arm itself prior to impact.
Arrow survived Bomb Alley (San Carlos Water anchorage) longer than any other ship. During this time she received temporary repairs to hull cracks - Seadart lifting beams were welded to her upper decks on each side.
On rejoining the Task Force datalink she was greeted with 'I thought you were sunk'. On passage east at night Arrow detected an unknown surface target inshore - to identify the vessel she closed and fired 3 star-shells over what turned out to be a UK landing craft mechanised (LCM) which was then escorted to Berkeley Sound. This was the last Mk 8 illuminant fired in conflict.
Arrow also gave covering fire in the lead up to the surrender of Port Stanley. By war's end, she had destroyed three Argentine aircraft, seven gun emplacements and two radar stations.
The silhouette of Arrow is to be found, along with the date 1 May, painted on the side of Argentine Air Force Dassault Mirage 5/IAI Dagger serial number C-412, along with a similar silhouette representation of HMS Brilliant and the date 21 May, implying a successful action by the aircrew against these vessels. These kill markings are however overstated, and refer merely to damage which both ships suffered during the conflict, which may or may not have been caused by this particular aircraft. Arrow was slightly damaged by cannon fire on 1 May 1982, and HMS Brilliant was slightly damaged by cannon fire on 21 May 1982 outside San Carlos Water. The aircraft was reportedly observed still bearing these distinguishing marks as late as November 2005 (twenty-three years after the conflict) at the multi-national Exercise Ceibo in Argentina.
Later Royal Navy service
By the mid-1980s Arrow was suffering from cracking in her hull. Much of this had first arisen during the Falklands conflict, when engineers were obliged to weld steel plates and girders to parts of the ship where cracks were opening up in the aluminium superstructure. After the war she was taken in for refitting, with a large steel plate being welded down each side of the ship. At the same time modifications were made to reduce hull noise.
Pakistan Navy service
Following decommissioning Arrow was transferred to Pakistan and renamed PNS Khaibar. The Exocet missile system was not transferred to Pakistan and Khaibar had her obsolete Sea Cat missile launcher removed. A Phalanx CIWS was later fitted in place of the Sea Cat launcher. SRBOC chaff launchers and 20 mm and 30 mm guns were fitted. Khaibar remains in service with the Pakistan Navy, who purchased from the United Kingdom Government all six surviving Type 21 frigates of the eight originally built (two were lost in the Falklands).
|1976||1977||Commander Nick J Barker RN|
|1977||1979||Commander W L Davis RN|
|1979||1980||Commander J D McPetrie RN|
|1980||1982||Commander Paul J Bootherstone RN|
|1982||1984||Commander Christopher W Pile RN|
|1984||1986||Commander Anthony G McEwen RN|
|1986||1988||Commander Christopher Beagley RN|
|1989||1990||Commander Richard M Davey RN|
|1990||1991||Commander Stephen C Jermy RN|
|1991||1993||Commander David C Goodall RN|
- AirForces Monthly Magazine February 2006, page 61.
- "Captain Paul Bootherstone obituary". Guardian. 9 April 2001.
- "Captain Paul Bootherstone obituary". Telegraph. 13 March 2001.
- Referenced in this report.
- These facts are fully referenced, with photographs, by the wartime crew at this location.
- "Arrow Homes in from Windies". Navy News. May 1985. p. 15. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- D-183 PNS Khaibar
- Referenced at this site.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
- Marriott, Leo, 1983. Royal Navy Frigates 1945-1983, Ian Allan Ltd, Surrey. ISBN 978-0-7110-1322-3
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