HMS Ashanti (F117)

HMS Ashanti was a Tribal-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was named after the Ashanti people, an ethnic group located in Ghana. The frigate was sunk as a target in 1988.

HMS Ashanti (F117).png
HMS Ashanti
United Kingdom
NameHMS Ashanti
BuilderYarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down15 January 1958
Launched9 March 1959
Commissioned23 November 1961
ReclassifiedHarbour Training Ship 1981
IdentificationPennant number F117
MottoKum apim, apim beba':'Kill a thousand, a thousand will come
FateSunk as target 1988
BadgeOn a Field barry wavy of six Blue and White a porcupine Gold.
Plaque from the Ship HMS Ashanti Badge F117
General characteristics
Class and typeTribal-class frigate
  • 2,300 long tons (2,300 t) standard
  • 2,700 long tons (2,700 t) full load
  • 360 ft 0 in (109.73 m) oa
  • 350 ft 0 in (106.68 m) pp
Beam42 ft 3 in (12.88 m)
  • 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
  • 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m) (propellers)[1]
Speed27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) (COSAG)
Range4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Radar type 965 air-search
  • Radar type 993 low-angle search
  • Radar type 978 navigation
  • Radar type 903 gunnery fire-control
  • Radar type 262 GWS-21 fire-control
  • Sonar type 177 search
  • Sonar type 170 attack
  • Sonar type 162 bottom profiling
  • Ashanti and Gurkha;
  • Sonar type 199 variable-depth
Aircraft carried1 × Westland Wasp helicopter
Service record
Awards: 1967: General Service Medal, South Arabian Clasp

Ashanti was built by Yarrow, of Scotstoun, at a cost of £5,315,000 and was the first commissioned Royal Navy warship to be equipped with combined steam and gas (COSAG) engines.[2] She was launched on 9 March 1959 and commissioned on 23 November 1961.[3]

Operational ServiceEdit

In 1962 malicious damage was reported aboard Ashanti.[4]

Ashanti deployed to the Caribbean for trials in 1962. There, in early October, the ship suffered a failure in her COSAG engines, forcing the frigate's return to Britain.[5] Subsequent tests discovered that the COSAG's machinery was defective, which caused blade fracturing in the gas turbine.[6] Hull strengthening also found to be required[4]

Westland Wasp HAS.1 helicopter of 829 Naval Air Squadron based on HMS Ashanti in 1967.

Ashanti was also used to trial the Westland Wasp helicopter, prior to its introduction to active service in 1964.[citation needed] The frigate conducted operations in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea for 10 months in 1963.[7] In May 1965, Ashanti suffered minor damage in a collision with the Russian cargo ship Farab in the port of Mombassa, Kenya.[8]

In 1966/67 Ashanti was deployed on the Beira Patrol. During that time she also spent a month in Aden having a gas turbine refit whilst some of the crew were seconded to the army as Britain withdrew from Aden, for which the crew were awarded the General Service medal with South Arabia clasp. There was also a visit to the Kuria Muria Islands, before going on to Bahrain and Kuwait. Given the Six-Day War, the Suez Canal being blocked, indecisiveness about whether to clear mines from the Gulf of Aqaba Ashanti headed home via the Cape of Good Hope, stopping off at Simon's Town. Paragraph by onboard rating REM Bryant

In 1969 Ashanti embarked a Royal Marines Commando detachment at Bermuda during a Black Power Conference.[4]

In 1970, Ashanti deployed on Beira Patrol, which was designed to prevent oil reaching landlocked Rhodesia via the Portuguese colony of Mozambique.[citation needed] The following year Ashanti was present at the Royal Navy's withdrawal from Malta. In 1974, while returning to Britain from the Caribbean, Ashanti suffered two fatalities when a large wave struck the frigate. The ship was just four hours out of Bermuda on her way back to the UK when hit by the wave. One was lost at sea, while the other suffered injuries and died aboard the frigate. The ship returned to Bermuda to disembark the body, and for repairs to the upper deck structure. Premature reports by Bermudian radio stations sent invalid signals to UK and it was reported on national TV news channels that Ashanti had been sunk and lost at sea.

Three sailors, Timothy J Burton, David Little and James Wardle, died in 1977 from carbon monoxide poisoning after a fire broke out in a boiler room.[9][10]

Ashanti was returned to service in 1978 following a repair and refit, and finally placed in reserve and became a Harbour Training Ship. She was sunk as a target in 1988 by the submarines Sceptre and Spartan.[citation needed]

The submarine HMS Swiftsure was submerged and launched two Sub Harpoon missiles from distance, video footage was taken from a helicopter observing the exercise. Another 'S' Class boat situated between HMS Swiftsure and the target hit the ship with Mk24 torpedoes subsequent to the Sub Harpoons, which broke the back of the ship causing it to break in two and sink.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Blackman 1971, p. 356.
  2. ^ "Second £7M. Assault Ship for the Navy". The Times (55326): Col A, p. 5. 27 February 1962.
  3. ^ Gardiner, Robert & Chesneau, Roger (1995), p. 518.
  4. ^ a b c Mason, Geoffrey B. (2007). "Chronology, Part 3 - 1961-70". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  5. ^ "£5M. Frigate Breaks Down on Trials". The Times (55513): Col E, p. 4. 4 October 1962.
  6. ^ "Warship's Dual Propulsion Units Faulty". The Times (55598): Col F, p. 4. 14 January 1963.
  7. ^ "News in Brief". The Times (55884): Col E, p. 5. 14 December 1963.
  8. ^ "News in Brief". The Times (56318): Col A, p 12. 11 May 1965.
  9. ^ "Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, 1970-79". Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Unscrewing of nut led to fatal fire in warship". The Times (59960): Col C, p. 5. 24 March 1977.