Military Wiki
HMS Arrow (F173)
HMS Arrow
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Arrow
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 28 September 1972
Launched: 5 February 1974
Commissioned: 28 July 1976
Decommissioned: 1 March 1994
Identification: Pennant number: F173
Motto: Celeriter certus
(Latin: "Swiftly sure")
Fate: Sold to Pakistan on 1 March 1994
Career (Pakistan) Naval Jack of Pakistan.svg
Name: PNS Khaibar
Operator: Pakistan Navy
Acquired: 1 March 1994
Status: in active service, as of 2022
General characteristics
Class & type: Type 21 frigate
Displacement: 3,250 tons full load
Length: 384 ft (117 m)
Beam: 41 ft 9 in (12.73 m)
Draught: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)

2 × Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines

2 × Rolls-Royce Tyne RM1A gas turbines for cruising
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles at 17 knots (7,400 km at 31 km/h)
1,200 nautical miles at 30 knots (2,220 km at 56 km/h)
Complement: 177
Armament: RN:
1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark 8 naval gun
2 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
4 × MM38 Exocet missiles
1 × quadruple Sea Cat SAMs
2 × triple ASW torpedo tubes
2 × Corvus chaff launchers
1 × Type 182 towed decoy
1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark 8 naval gun
2 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
1 × quadruple Harpoon missile launcher
1 × Phalanx CIWS
2 × triple ASW torpedo tubes
2 × Mark 36 SRBOC chaff launchers
1 × Type 182 towed decoy
Aircraft carried: 1 × Westland Wasp helicopter, later refitted for 1 × Lynx

HMS Arrow was a Type 21 frigate of the Royal Navy. Built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, she was completed with Exocet launchers in 'B' position.

Falklands War service

Arrow participated in the Falklands War, and had the dual distinction of being both the first British warship to fire on the enemy (whilst firing on land forces at Port Stanley), and the first British warship to be hit by enemy fire, after being straffed by an Argentine Air Force fighter.[1] On 4 May 1982 she assisted in extinguishing the fires and evacuating the crew of the Type 42 destroyer Sheffield, which had been struck by an Exocet missile. The crew showed conspicuous bravery in this rescue effort, saving 225 of the crew of HMS Sheffield, and Arrow's captain, Commander (later Captain) Paul Bootherstone was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry during the action.[2] Arrow also helped extinguish the fires on the Rothesay class frigate Plymouth, on 8 June 1982.

The silhouette of Arrow is to be found, along with the date 1 May, painted on the side of Argentine Air Force Dassault Mirage 5/IAI Finger serial number C-412, along with a similar silhouette representation of HMS Brilliant and the date 21 May, implying a successful action by the aircrew against these vessels. These kill markings are however overstated, and refer merely to damage which both ships suffered during the conflict, which may or may not have been caused by this particular aircraft. Arrow was slightly damaged by cannon fire on 1 May 1982, and HMS Brilliant was slightly damaged by cannon fire on 21 May 1982 outside San Carlos Water. The aircraft was reportedly observed still bearing these distinguishing marks as late as November 2005 (twenty-three years after the conflict) at the multi-national Exercise Ceibo in Argentina.

Arrow also supported troops of the Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) in the successful landing at Goose Green, which eventually led to the recapture of Port Stanley from the enemy.[3]

Later Royal Navy service

By the mid-1980s Arrow was suffering from cracking in her hull. Much of this had first arisen during the Falklands conflict, when engineers were obliged to weld steel plates and girders to parts of the ship where cracks were opening up in the aluminium superstructure.[4] After the war she was taken in for refitting, with a large steel plate being welded down each side of the ship. At the same time modifications were made to reduce hull noise. The vessel continued in service until 1994, and was decommissioned and removed from the fleet on 1 March that year.

Pakistan Navy service

Following decommissioning Arrow was transferred to Pakistan and renamed PNS Khaibar.[5] The Exocet missile system was not transferred to Pakistan and Khaibar had her obsolete Sea Cat missile launcher removed. A quadruple Harpoon missile launcher was fitted in place of the Exocet launchers and a Phalanx CIWS was fitted in place of the Sea Cat launcher. SRBOC chaff launchers and 20 mm and 30 mm guns were fitted. Khaibar remains in service with the Pakistan Navy, who purchased from the United Kingdom Government all six surviving Type 21 frigates of the eight originally built (two were lost in the Falklands).[6]

Commanding Officers

From To Captain
1976 1977 Commander Nick Barker
1977 1979 Commander W J Davis RN
1980 1983 Commander P J Bootherstone RN


  • AirForces Monthly Magazine February 2006, page 61.
  1. Both incidents are referenced in the Guardian newspaper report of the death of the ship's commander.
  2. Fully referenced in Bootherstone's Daily Telegraph obituary report.
  3. Referenced in this report.
  4. These facts are fully referenced, with photographs, by the wartime crew at this location.
  5. D-183 PNS Khaibar
  6. Referenced at this site.


External links

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