HMS Achilles (F12) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was built by Yarrow at Glasgow. She was launched on 21 November 1968 and commissioned on 9 July 1970. Unlike other ships, Achilles would not undergo Exocet modernisation due to the 1981 defence review by John Nott. In 1970, Achilles deployed to the Far East where there was, at that time, a large British naval presence. She escorted a number of larger vessels while there, including Eagle.
In 1974, Achilles joined the 3rd Frigate Squadron, and later that year deployed to the Far East on a nine-month deployment as part of Task Group 317.2. The Task Group (TG) visited a number of African ports on their way to the Far East and Indian Ocean, including South Africa, a visit that caused some controversy back in the UK at the time. The TG visited a variety of ports in the Far East and took part in a number of exercises, Achilles was active as a radio relay vessel during the fall of South Vietnam.
Upon the TG's return from the Far East, they made their way around the Cape of Good Hope to South America where a large exercise with the Brazilian Navy known as, which included Ark Royal, took place. Achilles returned to the UK in June 1975. Later that year, Achilles collided with the Greek tanker Olympic Alliance while in the Dover Strait, causing a number of wounded, as well as heavy damage to Achilles bow. It was later repaired. The following year, Achilles joined the Fishery Protection Squadron during the Third Cod War with Iceland.
After her deployment during the Third Cod War, Achilles went on a number of deployments including to the Persian Gulf as-well as being involved in a number of naval exercises. In 1982, Achilles deployed to the West Indies as guardship. The following year, Achilles deployed to the Falkland Islands to patrol the area in the aftermath of the Falklands War. Later that year Achilles took part in Exercise Orient Express, which took place in the Indian Ocean. She deployed to the Persian Gulf that same year.
By the late 1980s, Achilles career was coming to an end. In 1989 she joined the Dartmouth Training Squadron, and in a busy year became the first RN warship to visit East Germany as well as hosting a Dinner to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate. In January 1990, Achilles decommissioned, ending her eventful career, though only with the Royal Navy. That same year, Achilles was sold to Chile, and was renamed Ministro Zenteno. She served in the Chilean Navy until February 2006, when she was retired from service, and decommissioned in August 2006.
The HMS Achilles/Ministro Zenteno is now awaiting scrapping and is tied up at a wharf at Chile.
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