Military Wiki
HMS Dido (F104)
File:HMS Dido (F104).png
Career (United Kingdom (RN))
Name: HMS Dido (F104)
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 2 December 1959
Launched: 22 December 1961
Commissioned: 18 September 1963
Fate: Sold to New Zealand.
Career (New Zealand (RNZN))
Name: HMNZS Southland
Commissioned: 18 July 1983
Decommissioned: March 1995
Fate: Scrapped at Goa
General characteristics
Class & type: Leander class frigate
Displacement: 2,450 tons standard
3,200 tons full load
Length: 372 ft (113 m)
Beam: 41 ft (12 m)
Draught: 19 ft (6 m)
Propulsion: Two Babcock and Wilcox boilers delivering steam to two sets of White/English Electric geared turbines of 30,000shp on two shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h)
Range: 4,600 nautical miles (8,500 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 18 officers and 248 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 × Type 994 air/surface search radar
1 × Type 1006 navigation radar
2 × Type 903/904 fire-control radars
1 × Type 184P active search and attack sonar
1 × Type 2031Z passive search towed array sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
CAAIS (Computer Assisted Action Information System) combat information system, ESM system with UAA-8/9 warning and Type 668/669 jamming elements.
Armament: 2 × 4.5-inch (110 mm) L45 DP guns in one Mk 6 twin mounting; later replaced by one Ikara ASW missile launcher in circular well forward
2 × quadruple Sea Cat anti-air missile launchers
2 × 40-millimetre (1.6 in) Bofors guns
2 × Mk 32 triple 12.75-inch (324 mm) mountings for Mk46 or Stingray torpedoes
Aircraft carried: 1 × Wasp, later Lynx helicopter

HMS Dido (F104) was a Royal Navy (RN) Leander class Batch 2TA frigate. Entering service in 1961, Dido was involved in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, served with NATO's Standing Naval Force Atlantic on several occasions, and was one of the frigates used for the filming of the drama series Warship.

Following a defence review at the start of the 1980s, the ship was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), and was recommissioned as HMNZS Southland. Southland remained in service until 1995. After decommissioning, the frigate was towed to the Philippines, where her boilers were removed, then to India for scrapping.


She was built by Yarrow of Glasgow. She was originally to be called HMS Hastings. The naming ceremony for Dido took place on 21 December 1961, but her launch was delayed until the next day because of fog.[1]

Royal Navy Service

The ship was assigned to the Far East, joining the 22nd Escort Group in 1964 and took part in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, and became leader of the 21st Escort Group the following year.

Dido was reassigned to the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) in 1969 and also took part in a fleet review at Spithead on 16 May 1969 as part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the formation of NATO. The ship was one of four used as the fictional frigate HMS Hero in the 1970s BBC television drama series Warship.

Dido was extensively refitted at Devonport between July 1975 and October 1978, as a Batch 1B Ikara conversion (and the last to be completed). An Ikara ASW missile launcher replaced one of the ship's twin 4.5-inch (110 mm) guns and various sensors were upgraded. In 1983 the ship was briefly assigned again to STANAVFORLANT.

Royal New Zealand Navy Service

As a result of the 1981 Defence Review which had recommended the disposal of some older frigates, the ship was sold to the RNZN, along with sister ship HMS Bacchante.The already 18 year old Southland was selected mainly to train RNZN personnel on Computerised Command and Control systems. After a short refit at Vosper Thornycroft the ship was recommissioned on 18 July 1983 as HMNZS Southland.

Decommissioning and fate

Around 1986 extensive plans were drawn up for a major refit of HMNZS Southland which would have allowed its Ikara capability to remain operational until the mid-1990s. The RN had significantly modernised one of its remaining Ikara Leanders, Arethusa at the time with long range 2031 towed array capable of passive detection in the 160 km + range zone. The Royal Australian Navy planned to continue with its similar, but incompatible, Ikara system for a while. However quotes for refitting Southland in UK yards or at Lyttleton proved high, the Cold War effectively ended in 1989 and with the RN and USN withdrawing its stock of nuclear depth charges, (the intended warhead option for RN Ikara Leanders to attack Soviet submarines 10–20 km range, where two directional sound transmission times were probably too great for accurate proximity direction of Ikara carrying MK 46 torpedoes) meant Ikara was no longer useful to the Royal Navy. As a result the Ikara system was withdrawn from RNZN use in 1989 with space found for a low cost refit at the RNZN dockyard for it to continue as a General Purpose frigate until 1993. Decommissioned in 1995, HMNZS Southland was towed away by two patrol craft to the Philippines where her boilers were removed for a rubber plantation. Then towed to Singapore where she was sold to an Indian tug company who towed her to Goa beach in India. She was pulled up on the beach and her parts were sold.[citation needed]

Commanding Officers

From To Captain
1969 1971 Commander Simon Argles RN
1971 1973 Commander Mike England RN
1978 1979 Commander G M Booth RN

See also



External links

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