Type 16 Frigates

At the end of the Second World War the Royal Navy had a major headache that it needed to solve. It had a large number of escort ships (frigates and corvettes) in reserve, most of which were either worn-out or did not have a speed advantage over the new, faster submarines that the Germans had been building and which – no doubt – the Soviets would copy. The Navy also had a large number of relatively new fleet destroyers in reserve which were not as well equipped as the frigates and corvettes when it came to anti-submarine warfare.

The Admiralty decided to solve the problem by converting some of its stock of fleet destroyers into fast escorts. It proposed two designs:

  • The Type 15 Frigate: this was a relatively expensive and more extensive conversion which would take some time to put into effect
  • The Type 16 Frigate: this was a cheaper alternative which would ensure that the Royal Navy had some fast anti-submarine escorts available in a relatively short time

Three destroyers of the O/P-class (Orwell, Paladin, and Petard) and seven of the T-class (Teazer, Tenacious, Termagant, Terpsichore, Tumult, Tuscan, and Tyrian) were chosen for conversion. (These were all War Emergency Programme destroyers and shared a common basic design.)

What the ships looked like before conversion:

The conversions entailed:

  • The removal of the existing main gun armament, which was replaced by a twin 4-inch dual purpose gun mounted immediately forward of the bridge
  • The replacement of the existing anti-aircraft armament with seven Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns
  • The addition of two x triple Squid anti-submarine mortars, which were mounted aft
  • The retention of a quadruple set of 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes

What the ships looked like after conversion:

The conversions were undertaken between 1949 and 1955, and the last ship (HMS Petard) was broken up in 1967.


Between 1957 and 1959 two ex-O-class destroyers of the Pakistan Navy – Tippu Sultan (ex-Onslow) and Tughril (ex-Onslaught) – were returned to the UK for conversion along the lines of the Type 16 Frigates.
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