Defence Minister Accepts Royal Navy’s New Offshore Patrol Vessel Forth
LONDON — Recently appointed U.K. Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb visited BAE Systems’ Clyde shipyards Jan. 25 to announce the formal acceptance of the first River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) by the Ministry of Defence and witness progress on the Type 26 program as production started on the second hull section of Glasgow, the first of the City-class frigates, BAE said in a release.
“Thanks to the hard work of the Clyde shipyards, HMS Forth is now ready to join the Royal Navy surface fleet and begin the vital task of defending the UK and her interests around the world, Bebb said. “Developing the Type 26 capability is also making great strides forward, reflecting the U.K.’s commitment to this cutting-edge new warship, which will sustain 4,000 jobs in Scotland and right across the U.K.”
Forth will remain at the Scotstoun yard in Glasgow for a short period to complete some additional work requested by the Ministry of Defence. On departure, it will be the first complex warship to leave Glasgow since HMS Duncan in 2013. It is expected to be commissioned into Her Majesty’s fleet at its homeport of Portsmouth Naval Base this year.
Medway, the second of class, was named in October and is set to depart for sea trials in the first half of this year, while Trent will be formally named in the spring. Tamar and Spey, the last of the River-class OPVs, currently are under production at BAE Systems’ Govan yard.
“It has been a pleasure to welcome the minister to our facilities today and we were proud to show him around Forth,” said Iain Stevenson, BAE Systems Naval Ships managing director. “She is the first of a very special class of ships that we know will provide the Royal Navy and her crew with the flexibility they need to perform their vital operations.”
During the visit, BAE Systems also announced the signing of a $7.9 million contract with General Electric to establish an Electrical Integration and Test Facility in Whetstone, Leicestershire, to enable critical derisking integration tests for the Type 26 propulsion systems. The agreement, which follows a previous Design Development contract signed in 2016, brings the total committed investment in the facility to around $18.3 million.