UK firm BAE Systems has handed over River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Medway to the British Royal Navy.

Named after the River Medway in Kent, the 90m-long, BAE Systems-built vessel completed its first sea trials in the Firth of Clyde in December last year.

HMS Medway is the second of five 2,000t River-class 2.0 vessels designed to perform patrol duties in home waters and beyond.

The ship is equipped with integrated platform management system (IPMS) and combat management system (CMS).

While IPMS controls and monitors most of the ship’s systems, CMS collates sensor information and assists the command team in decision-making.

Medway is expected to undergo sea trials for the second time in the coming months before sailing for Portsmouth in July. Military systems are currently being integrated into the ship.

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By GlobalData

Commissioning of the vessel is expected to take place in September.

“These are bigger, faster, far more capable.”

HMS Medway commanding officer lieutenant commander Ben Power said: “These are bigger, faster, far more capable.

“They are a huge uplift for the patrol vessel squadron, they have the legs and agility of a frigate but require the crew of a minehunter.”

With a range of 5,500nm, Batch 2 River-class OPVs can achieve a maximum speed of 24k.

Meanwhile, the lead ship of the River-class HMS Forth is in the final stages to resume trials and training by the end of this month.

Forth will replace HMS Clyde in the Falklands, while her sister vessels are expected to be deployed for patrol duty in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or the Pacific Rim operating from Singapore.

HMS Forth commanding officer commander Bob Laverty said: “These ships will fly the White Ensign all over the globe.

“They are a real step up, capable of being deployed for several years at a time. We’re focussed on taking Forth to sea before the end of March. We have belief and faith in the ship. Now it is time to test her at sea.”