HMS Lowestoft (F103)
HMS Lowestoft was a Rothesay or Type 12 class anti-submarine frigate of the British Royal Navy. Lowestoft was reconstructed in the late 1960s to largely the same pattern as the third group of Leander frigates, with new radar and fire control and a hangar and pad for a Wasp helicopter for longer range, anti submarine, engagement. In the late 1970s it was converted as the prototype towed array frigate for the Royal Navy, but retained its full armament. Lowestoft was sunk as a target on 8 June 1986 by HMS Conqueror using a Tigerfish torpedo. She was the last Royal Naval target to be sunk still displaying her pennant number.
HMS Lowestoft in 1979
|Builder:||Alex Stephens & Sons|
|Laid down:||9 June 1958|
|Launched:||23 June 1960|
|Commissioned:||26 September 1961|
|Identification:||Pennant number: F103|
|Fate:||Sunk as target 8 June 1986|
|Class and type:||Rothesay-class frigate|
|Draught:||17 ft 4 in|
2 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers operating at 550lb sq. in, 850°FEnglish Electric geared turbines, 2 shafts, 30000 shafts horsepower
|Speed:||30 kn (56 km/h)|
2 × 4.5" Dual Purpose on a Mk VI Mounting 1 x 40mm on STAGG mounting1 x Limbo Mortar Mk 10 Mountings
|Aircraft carried:||1 × Wasp helicopter|
The Rothesay-class was an improved version of the Whitby-class anti-submarine frigate, with nine Rothesays ordered in the 1954–55 shipbuilding programme for the Royal Navy to supplement the six Whitbys.
Lowestoft was 370 feet 0 inches (112.78 m) long overall and 360 feet 0 inches (109.73 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 41 feet 0 inches (12.50 m) and a draught of 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 m). The Rothesays were powered by the same Y-100 machinery used by the Whitby-class. Two Babcock & Wilcox water-tube boilers fed steam at 550 pounds per square inch (3,800 kPa) and 850 °F (454 °C) to two sets of geared steam turbines which drove two propeller shafts, fitted with large (2 feet (0.61 m) diameter) slow-turning propellers. The machinery was rated at 30,000 shaft horsepower (22,000 kW), giving a speed of 29.5 knots (33.9 mph; 54.6 km/h). Crew was about 212 officers and men.
A twin 4.5-inch (113 mm) Mark 6 gun mount was fitted forward, with 350 rounds of ammunition carried. It was originally intended to fit a twin 40 mm L/70 Bofors anti-aircraft mount aft, but in 1957 it was decided to fit the Seacat anti-aircraft missile instead. Seacat was not yet ready, and Yarmouth was completed with a single L/60 40 mm Bofors mount aft as a temporary anti-aircraft armament. The design anti-submarine armament consisted of twelve 21-inch torpedo-tubes (eight fixed and two twin rotating mounts) for Mark 20E Bidder homing anti-submarine torpedoes, backed up by two Limbo anti-submarine mortars fitted aft. The Bidder homing torpedoes proved unsuccessful however, being too slow to catch modern submarines, and the torpedo tubes were soon removed.
The ship was fitted with a Type 293Q surface/air search radar on the foremast, with a Type 277 height-finding radar on a short mast forward of the foremast. A Mark 6M fire control system (including a Type 275 radar) for the 4.5 inch guns was mounted above the ship's bridge, while a Type 974 navigation radar was also fitted. The ship's sonar fit consisted of Type 174 search, Type 170 fire control sonar for Limbo and a Type 162 sonar for classifying targets on the sea floor.
From 1967 to 1969 Lowestoft underwent a major modernisation, which brought the ship close in capacity to the Leander-class. A hangar and flight deck was added aft to allow a Westland Wasp helicopter to be operated, at the expense of one of the Limbo anti-submarine mortars, while a Seacat launcher and the associated GWS20 director was mounted on the hangar roof. Two 20-mm cannons were added either side of the ship's bridge. A MRS3 fire control system replaced the Mark 6M, and its integral Type 903 radar allowed the Type 277 height finder radar to be removed. A Type 993 surface/air-search radar replaced the existing Type 293Q radar, while the ship's defences were enhanced by the addition of the Corvus chaff rocket dispenser.
Lowestoft commissioned on 18 October 1961 and joined the 5th Frigate Squadron in March 1962. Between 1961 and 1963 she was commanded by Raymond Lygo.
In January 1971, Lowestoft joined STANAVFORLANT, the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic.
- Gardiner & Chumbley 1995, p. 519
- Friedman 2008, pp. 321–322
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- Friedman 2008, pp. 208–210
- "Lowestoft's New Job". Navy News. March 1971. p. 12. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
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