The UK Royal Navy’s fifth and final next-generation River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Spey has entered the next phase of tests, trials and training.

The OPV sailed into the Solent under the White Ensign for the first time.

This follows the successful completion of Her Ready for Sea Date inspection recently. Last month, the UK Navy commissioned HMS Spey.

The vessels were built under a contract with BAE Systems and are worth a total of £635m.

HMS Forth, Medway, Tamar and Trent are the four other vessels built under the contract.

Spey commanding officer lieutenant commander Ben Evans said: “The ship’s company and I have been enjoying a succession of firsts with HMS Spey, and there will be more to come as we build towards the excitement of our first operational deployment.”

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The 2,000t, 90m-long patrol vessel, HMS Spey, was named by sponsor Lady Alison Johnstone during a naming ceremony at Scotstoun in 2019.

Construction of the vessel began in April 2017 at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard. Last September, HMS Spey began contractor sea trials.

The vessel is fitted with a 30mm cannon and features a flight deck for accommodating the navy’s Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

Equipped with a mess deck for 50 embarked troops, HMS Spey is designed for work in the UK waters.

HMS Spey will support counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling work. It will also be deployed in support of defence operations.

The vessel will become formally operational later this year after completing Operational Sea Training.