These ships were started as a
private venture and ordered in August 1980. The design includes an
ability to lay mines.
The Castle Class was intended as a series of six offshore patrol
vessels, designed in response to criticism of the previous Island
In the event, only two ships were built, HMS Leeds Castle and HMS
Dumbarton Castle. Both vessels were built by Hall Russell in
These had significant improvements over the Island class; they were
300 tonnes larger, more stable in heavy seas, 3 knots (5.6 km/h)
faster and were fitted with a large flight deck that was capable of
supporting a Sea King.
Inmarsat commercial communications terminals were fitted and two Avon
Sea Rider high-speed craft were embarked.
For brief periods, the ships could accommodate up to
120 troops. Their primary mission was to serve with the Fishery
Protection Squadron, protecting both the fishing fleets and the oil
and gas fields of the North Sea. In addition, they could also serve as
minelayers, and have detergent spraying facilities on board for
dispersing oil slicks.
Since the Falklands War, one ship had been in the Falkland Islands
as a guardship. HMS Leeds Castle and HMS Dumbarton Castle rotated the role
on a three-yearly basis, although the ship's crew usually did a six
The Castle Class has now been replaced by the 4 River Class vessels: HMS Clyde, HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey.
||1,427 tons full load
||2 x Rushton 12 RK
||10,000nm at 12 knots
||45 (6 officers) plus
austerity accommodation for 25 Royal Marines
||1 x 30mm Gun 10km
||Platform for operating
Sea King or Lynx
||Sensors and Combat