The Type 22 "Broadsword" class of frigate was established by the British Royal Navy (RN) as a fourteen-strong group to be completed across three individual construction batches. The types served a critical role in the RN during the Cold War years and eventually saw combat service during the Falklands War (1982) against Argentina. Once their usefulness to the RN had run out, two hulls were used as targets, five were sold for scrapping, and seven were sold off to the navies of Brazil, Chile, and Romania. The last ship of the class - HMS Cornwall - was removed from service in June of 2011.
HMS Brilliant (F90) made up the third ship of the first construction batch following HMS Broadsword (F88) and HMS Battleaxe (F89). All of the first batch were constructed at Yarrow in Glasgow with Brilliant being ordered on September 7th, 1976, and seeing her keel being laid down on March 25th, 1977. She was launched on December 15th, 1978 and formally commissioned on May 15th, 1981.
Brilliant exhibited a workmanlike appearance with its many details when viewed in profile. The superstructure made up a good portion of her above deck mass structure which was capped by a twin-mast approach - one held forward and the other aft. The bridge was set at front in the usual way, overlooking the forecastle, and identified by its large section of windows along the front and sides. Smoke funnels were featured at amidships and a helicopter landing deck was positioned over the stern. She displaced at 4,400 tons and held a length of 430 feet with a beam of 48 feet and a draught of 20 feet. Her crew complement reached 222 personnel.
Performance for the vessel came by way of 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B boost gas turbines (54,600 shaft horsepower) coupled with 2 x Rolls-Royce Tyne RM1C cruise gas turbines (9,700 shaft horsepower) in a COGOG arrangement driving 2 x shafts. COGOG (COmbined Gas and Gas) supplied the vessel with two modes of gas-fueled turbine operation depending on whether cruising speeds or a short boost of speed was in order. This allowed speeds of 30 knots to be reached while cruising was closer to the 18-knot range.
Despite her merchant-like appearance, HMS Brilliant was a fighting frigate and outfitted for the dangers of Cold War sea warfare. This included 2 x 6 GWS25 series "Seawolf" Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launchers, 4 x French "Exocet" Surface-to-Surface Anti-Ship (AS) launchers, and 2 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) cannons. Additional support came in the form of the 2 x Westland Lynx Mk.8 series naval helicopters carried and these birds were utilized primarily in submarine hunting and anti-ship operations.
A year after her introduction, HMS Brilliant was ordered to the South Atlantic as part of the large British Task Force responding to the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. Once on station, she became the first Royal Navy vessel to fire the BAC/BAe "Sea Wolf" surface-to-air missile and successfully downed three marauding Argentine Douglas A-4 Skyhawk multi-role fighters. She also used her two-strong fleet of Lynx naval helicopters in a failed attempt to engage ARA Santa Fe (S-21), an attack submarine of the Argentine Navy (Santa Fe vessel was eventually overtaken in shallow waters during April 1982 and scuttled by the British). On May 25th, she helped save members of the British merchant navy ship Atlantic Conveyor after it fell victim to Argentine Exocet anti-ship missiles. The war ended on June 14th, 1982 with a British victory and continued control of the Falklands. Her only scars of the war were in a May 23 attack by Argentine aircraft who strafed her with guns resulting in only minor damage.
HMS Brilliant lived out her days in British Royal Navy service into the mid-1990s when, in 1996, she was decommissioned and sold off to the Brazilian Navy. Her sea tenure continued for a time under the Brazilian naval flag as "Dodsworth" (F47) until her stripped hulk was formally retired and sold off to Turkey for scrapping.