In May, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK (AEUK) is due to deliver its first multi-role SEA Class workboat to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). Named HMS MAGPIE, the Hydrographic Survey Motor Launch will replace HMS Gleaner after 34 years of service.

HMS MAGPIE is the largest and most significant vessel from a range of craft to be supplied by AEUK, the prime contractor and integrator of the MOD’s workboat programme. A total of up to 38 workboats will be delivered together with an extended programme of in-service support from 2018-2024.

The vessel will be the Royal Navy’s newest commissioned vessel and is based on an 18m Wildcat catamaran. The main structure of the vessel was built in Cork, Ireland. Final fit-out, commissioning and sea acceptance testing will be completed by AEUK at their waterside facility in Portland Harbour, Dorset.

Fit-out of the vessel will include integration of a highly innovative module developed by AEUK, which enables the rapid re-roleing of the vessel and provides a flexible workspace for up to six operational staff.  AEUK will also integrate a suite of advanced, high-specification sensors such as multi-beam and sidescan sonar to provide the hydrographic survey capability.

AEUK Surface Ship Division head James Young said: “We are extremely proud to have been contracted by the MOD to provide this important capability for the UK Royal Navy.

“With our extensive heritage in sonar and maritime technology, our team of highly skilled and innovative staff are well placed to ensure that the Royal Navy are given the capability they require.

“There is great pride within our company in delivering a vessel with a naval commission and we look forward to working closely with the users to ensure that HMS MAGPIE enters service smoothly.”

Following the initial launch and trials by boat builder Safehaven Marine, the vessel will be delivered to AEUK at their waterside facility based in Portland Harbour. Through March and April, AEUK will complete the fit-out of the survey module with the installation of power and data services, sonar processing equipment and workstations.

From late April, the vessel will be put through its acceptance checks by the AEUK Test and Acceptance Team ahead of full sea acceptance tests with the MOD.  Delivery to the MOD is planned for late May 2018, after which the vessel will be managed by AEUK to provide a comprehensive training package for its Royal Navy Operators and Maintainers.

SEA Class Workboats Sales and Product Manager Carl Stone said: “This is an exciting new capability for the Royal Navy.

“Now we are in the final stages of build, we are working closely with the Royal Navy Hydrographic Branch to ensure the vessel fully meets their requirements, as well as starting an export campaign for further sales of these very capable craft.   The whole team at AEUK are proud to play a part in the delivery of the new HMS MAGPIE.”