Westminster Lets Loose the Lead

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(ROYAL NAVY/CROWN COPYRIGHT)

The moment a 4.5in shell leaves the barrel of HMS Westminster’s main gun. The Type 23 frigate fired a total of 27 rounds at targets on ranges in the Lulworth exercise areas, Dorset, in late September. The frigate had spent the summer on high-readiness, focused on her anti-submarine role, but took the opportunity to hone her gunnery skills as she returned to Portsmouth, her homeport. Her 4.5in Mark 8 Mod 1 gun is capable of firing two dozen 46lb shells a minute, at targets up to 30,000 yards distant. The 4.5in gun is fitted to contemporary British frigates and destroyers and has been a standardised medium armament since 1938. The Mark 8 gun and mounting was first fitted to British ships in 1973 and has since been heavily modified. The current ‘Kryten’ variant entered service after 2005 and can target surface, shore and airborne targets. They were used to great effect in Libya during 2011.