The UK Royal Navy’s coastal survey vessel HMS Roebuck is to be retired from service in 2010, four years earlier than scheduled as part of cuts announced by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth.

The vessel is one of the Royal Navy’s four hydrographic ships, which came into service in 1986.

The Ministry of Defence will use the money saved by the cuts on purchasing 22 Chinook helicopters and other equipment for British troops serving in Afghanistan.

The 1,477t survey ship can accommodate a crew complement of 52.

The Roebuck is equipped with a full suite of hydrographic sensors and a survey motor boat for inshore work, although it can operate as a support ship for mine warfare vessels.