HMS Ariadne (F72) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy (RN). Like the rest of the Leander-class, Ariadne was named after a figure of Greek mythology. She was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders of Scotstoun and was the last of the Leander-class to be completed, and the last warship to be built for the RN powered by steam. Ariadne was launched on 10 September 1971 and commissioned on 10 February 1973.
In the year of her commission, Ariadne undertook a Fishery Protection Patrol during the Second Cod War with Iceland. In 1974 Ariadne in company with Fife (FOF2 embarked), Scylla, Danae, Londonderry, Tidespring, Tarbatness made a nine month deployment to the Far East. Port visits included: Gibraltar, Cape Town, Singapore (twice), Hong Kong, Port Louis Mauritius, Lytleton NZ, Napier NZ, MacKay Aus, Sydney Aus. Ariadne also participated in Biera Patrol. Ariadne also refuelled from an old oiler permanently moored in Gan in the Indian Ocean. In 1976, Ariadne completed a refit and the following year took part in the annual Group Deployment, visiting a variety of ports in South America and West Africa, as well as performing naval exercises. Later that year, Ariadne took part in the Fleet Review of the Royal Navy, in celebration of HM the Queen's Silver Jubilee. She was positioned in the middle of HM ships Antelope and Jupiter. In 1979, Ariadne joined Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT), a NATO multi-national squadron.