The construction of the UK Royal Navy's second of three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), HMS Medway, took further step forward with the steel cutting ceremony in BAE Systems (BAES) shipyards in Glasgow.
BAE is constructing these River-class Batch 2 vessels under a £348m contract. This project is also part of the UK's £160bn programme of investment in military equipment.
DE&S Ship Acquisition director rear admiral Henry Parker said: "The construction of the OPVs embodies the long-term future of the UK's naval surface ship building industry as they are the key to the continued retention by the UK of its capability to build complex surface warships such as Type 26.
"When completed, these ships will go on to perform vital roles in defending the UK's interests in UK waters and overseas."
The OPVs are designed to undertake tasks, such as maritime security, border control, routine patrols, anti-smuggling, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, and fishery protection, as well as effective disaster relief.
A new version of the 80m River-class vessels used by the UK Royal Navy, this 90.5m-long, 13m-wide offshore patrol vessels will be capable of cruising at a maximum speed of 24k, and also provide accommodation for 60 personnel, including a crew of 34.
In addition, the vessel will have an enhanced flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters and will be able to carry two Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).
Construction of the first patrol ship in the class, HMS Forth, began in Glasgow in October 2014 and is expected to be delivered in 2017. The third OPV will be named as HMS Trent.
Image: HMS Medway will have an enhanced flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters. Photo: courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence / Crown copyright.