A welcome sight of HMS St Albans spotted on our 24 hour live webcam (outbound) in the Sound today.

The Type 23 warship was last seen in the Sound in 2019 on its way into Devonport Naval Base for its (LIFEX) upgrade programme.

HMS St Albans is named after the English city and ducal family of St Albans, and left Devonport today on the first stage of its ‘regeneration’ before it returns to frontline naval duties later this year.

HMS St Albans leaving Plymouth Sound and passing HMS Iron Duke at the Breakwater

The British frigate will spend the next few weeks working up its systems and testing improved and refurbished machinery in the English Channel to ensure all the work carried out is effective.

HMS St Albans 178-strong crew moved back aboard in mid-November of last year, and since then been working hand-in-hand with contractors and engineers from defence firm Babcock to prepare the warship to power under its own steam since 2019.

After nearly 20 years of constant service in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Gulf, HMS St Albans arrived in Plymouth in 2019 for its life extension (LIFEX) upgrade.

The upgrade will now see the frigate in service until the next decade, while the new Type 26 City-class currently under construction is built.

Defence experts say HMS St Albans is now a far more potent warship with all weapons and sensors upgraded, and the installation of the Sea Ceptor air defence system which can provide protection to an area the size of Greater Manchester against incoming threats in the skies.

As a dedicated submarine hunter, the ship has been fitted with Sonar 2150 in place of 2050, which can detect underwater threats at greater range and is easier to operate.

After the initial trials in the Channel, HMS St Albans will return to base for any necessary tweaks to the work carried out in refit, before starting her work-up to becoming fully operational again, which culminates with FOST training in Plymouth waters.