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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 14:40 GMT
Frigate with formidable firepower
HMS Cornwall
HMS Cornwall left the UK for the Gulf in January 2007
The 15 British Navy personnel captured at gunpoint in the Gulf serve on board HMS Cornwall, a Type-22 Broadsword-class frigate.

That vessel arrived in the northern Gulf on 12 March.

On board, Commodore Nick Lambert is commanding the task force on his fourth tour of the region.

HMS Cornwall was launched in October 1985 and commissioned at Falmouth, Cornwall, in 1988 by Diana, the Princess of Wales.

Type-22 frigates were originally designed as specialist anti-submarine vessels.

They have evolved into a surface combatant with substantial anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weapons systems.

'Ideal' flagship

They also possesses command and control and communication facilities, making them ideal flagships, according to the Royal Navy.
5300 tonnes, length 148.1m/485.9ft, beam 14.8m/48.5ft
Top speed 30 knots/35mph
250 crew (max 301)
114mm / 4.5 inch gun, Sea Wolf anti-missile system, Quad Harpoon missile launchers

The publication Ships of the Royal Navy describes the historical role of frigates as "the eyes and the ears of the Royal Navy's main battle fleets."

It says: "HMS Cornwall is equally capable of attacking targets in the air, on the surface, or beneath the sea, and is also a well-defended vessel."

On patrol it has a cruising speed of 18 knots/21mph , but has a sprint capability of over 30 knots/35mph.

HMS Cornwall's predecessors have battle honours from Barfleur in 1692, the Falkland Islands in 1914 and the Dardanelles in 1915.

It is affiliated to the County of Cornwall, The Light Infantry and the Worshipful Guild of Leathersellers amongst others.

The ship is part of Devonport Flotilla, under Commander Jeremy Woods.

In January 2007 HMS Cornwall was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of six ships being considered for "extended readiness". This would mean the vessels being withdrawn from active service.

The Ministry of Defence said no decision had been made on the fleet.

Graphic showing drawing and dimensions of HMS Cornwall

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