Type 14 Frigates

Every so often even the best navies acquire ships that can only be described as second rate … and in the case of the Type 14 Blackwood-class frigates this was actually how they were classified.

The twelve* ships of the Blackwood-class were built for the Royal Navy between 1953 and 1958, and were intended to counter the powerful submarine fleet of the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that they seem to have been almost universally disliked, they were in active service until the late 1970’s, and were then part of the Reserve Fleet until the mid-1980s. The ships were all named after British captains who served during the Napoleonic Wars: Blackwood, Duncan, Dundas, Exmouth, Grafton, Hardy, Keppel, Malcolm, Murray, Palliser, Pellew, and Russell.

The design was such that they were pretty well incapable of performing anything other than an anti-submarine role, although they did act as fishery protection vessels during the so-called ‘Cod War’ with Iceland over fishing rights. Their main anti-submarine armament was two x triple Limbo anti-submarine mortars, two x twin Mk. 20 anti-submarine torpedo tubes (only carried on Blackwood, Exmouth, Malcolm, and Palliser), and a sonar fit that was a good as that carried on the much larger Type 12 frigates (the Whitby, Rothesay, and Leander classes). They were also armed with three (later two) 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns.

* Three were also built for the Indian Navy. They were:

  • Khukri, which was sunk on 8th December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, by the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor.
  • Kirpan, which was badly damaged and put out of action on 8th December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, by the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor. She was repaired and later handed over to the Indian Coast Guard in 1978.
  • Kuthar, which was handed over to the Indian Coast Guard in 1978.

8 Comments on “Type 14 Frigates”

  1. The Indian Navy experience says a lot about their anti-submarine capabilities.

  2. Jim Duncan says:

    Hi Bob, you are starting to rival Fred T Jane.

    Keep it up.

  3. As a young Midshipman, I remember going on board HMS DUNDAS in 1977 – not what I was expecting for my chosen career. Like stepping back into “The Cruel Sea”!

  4. Xaltotun of Python,

    In defence of the Indian crews and their ships, the Pakistani submarine was whole generation newer.

    All the best,


  5. Ross Mac,

    It is probably why they were transferred to the Indian Coast Guard so soon afterwards.

    All the best,


  6. Jim Duncan,

    I'm doing my best … but I have a long way to go yet!

    All the best,


  7. Jeremy Ramsey,

    They were quite old by the late 1970s and had been subject to quite a lot of hard service.

    I wish I had had the opportunity to go aboard one of them … even if they harked back to earlier times.

    All the best,


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