Royal Navy Commissions First New Offshore Patrol Vessel

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Marching band at HMS Forth's commissioning ceremony (Image courtesy Royal Navy)

By MarEx 2018-04-13 15:07:00

On Friday, the Royal Navy commissioned HMS Forth, the first of its five new offshore patrol and fisheries enforcement vessels. She is the second ship to join the Royal Navy in less than six months, following the commissioning of the jump-ramp carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in December.

Forth is designed for counter-piracy, anti-smuggling, fishery protection, border patrol, counter terrorism and maritime defense duties. “It’s a privilege to be the Commanding Officer of HMS Forth, the first in class of the new Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels," said Commanding Officer Cmdr Bob Laverty. “The body of work being put in by my ship's company will be reflected in not just one, but all five brand new platforms being delivered to the RN and these fantastic ships will be a fine addition to the fleet."

The Royal Navy says that HMS Forth and her sister ships – the HMS Trent, Medway, Tamar and Spey - are a significant upgrade from its previous generation of ships, HMS Tyne, Severn, Mersey and Clyde, which were designed and built 15 years ago. The new OPVs are four knots faster than their predecessors, have an increased range of 5,500 nautical miles and are equipped with a 30mm automatic cannon instead of a 20mm gun. They have a flight deck large enough to operate Merlin helicopters and accommodations for up to 50 embarked Royal Marines.

The remaining four ships in the new Batch 2 River class are expected to arrive in Portsmouth by 2020. They will be deployed around the UK to ensure maritime security and safeguard fishing stocks. They are also capable of deploying to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Falkland Islands to safeguard British interests. In the past, the Royal Navy has also tasked its fisheries / offshore patrol vessels with escorting Russian warships through the English Channel.