The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £348m contract to BAE Systems to construct three new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Navy, formalising an agreement signed last November.
The new vessels will be built at BAE Systems' shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland, and will be designed to perform counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling missions.
The construction forms part of a deal signed in 2009 between BAE and the UK MOD.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "UK warships are only built in UK shipyards.
"This multi-million pound contract shows our commitment to investing in new ships for the Royal Navy and maintaining in the UK the expertise needed to build the warships of the future.
"This sort of investment by the UK Government is vital for the sustainment of shipbuilding in the city and the hundreds of specialist manufacturing and engineering roles that play an important role in providing war fighting capability for the Royal Navy."
With the first delivery anticipated in 2017, the OPVs will be integrated with an upgraded flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters. This will also include better storage and accommodation facilities.
BAE is also working on the second Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, and recently floated out the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Image: River Class patrol vessels HMS Severn, HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey during exercises off the Cornwall coast. Photo: courtesy of Crown.