The Romanian Navy is to resurrect plans to upgrade the Type 22 frigates it acquired from the UK in 2003. The so-called Phase 2 modernisation will include the addition of anti-surface and anti-air missile systems, a 3D surveillance radar, close-in self defence guns and a modern combat management system. A towed array sonar for anti-submarine warfare may also be added.
The much-needed improvements will allow Romania to take part in a wider range of NATO tasking, beyond the lower intensity security and anti-piracy roles it currently takes part in. Although no detailed timeframe or shipyard for the work was revealed, the work is expected to keep the ships in service for another ten to 20 years.
The frigates Regele Ferdinand (ex-HMS Coventry) and Regina Maria (ex-HMS London, pictured) joined the Romanian fleet in September 2004 and April 2005 respectively. They were handed over after Phase1 modernisation, which involved the fitting of a new Oto Melara 76mm gun and fire control system at the naval dockyard in Portsmouth.