Leander-class Modified Type 12 Frigate
Batch 2 Exocet Conversion
HMS Argonaut (F56) was built by Hawthorn Leslie launched on 8 February 1966 and commissioned on 18 August 1967. She was a Batch 2 and the 15th of the 26 British Leander frigates and the 4th ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy. Fitted with the Y.136 steam machinery plant layout, she was 372ft long with a 41ft beam and 2,350tons standard displacement. She was initially equipped with the twin 4.5in DP guns in a Mk 6 turret, but was converted at Devonport to an Exocet anti-ship missile frigate between 1976 and 1980. She is shown in this appearance during the Falklands Campaign 1982, where during landing operations on 21 May, she came under intensive air attack in San Carlos Water being hit by two 1000lb bombs, which despite fortunately failing to explode, did cause extensive internal damage, while killing two seaman ratings. After loosing steerage the ship managed to anchor and spent a further 8 days in what was colloquially known as ‘Bomb Alley,' carrying out repairs, continuing to fight the ship and assist in landing UK forces — before returning home to Devonport for extensive repairs and the fitting of a towed array sonar system. She paid off on the 31 March 1993.
Photographer: Ross Watton