Royal Navy christens fifth Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel

4 October 2019 (Last Updated October 4th, 2019 11:39)

The British Royal Navy has formally named the fifth and last next-generation River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) as HMS Spey.

Royal Navy christens fifth Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel
HMS Spey, the last of five Batch 2 River-class OPVs, is equipped with a 30mm cannon. Credit: DE&S.

The British Royal Navy has formally named the fifth and last next-generation River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) as HMS Spey.

Spey is the last ship in a fleet of five Batch 2 River-class OPVs for the Royal Navy.

The £127m, 2,000t ship was named by sponsor Lady Alison Johnstone during a naming ceremony at Scotstoun.

HMS Spey will be used to support counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling work. The vessel will also be deployed in support of defence operations.

The 90m-long patrol vessel is fitted with a 30mm cannon and has a flight deck that can accommodate the navy’s Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

BAE Systems is the contractor for the programme to construct the five OPVs. The value of the contract is around £635m.

UK Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our Offshore Patrol Vessels play a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting our domestic waters and supporting maritime interests from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection.

“The naming of HMS Spey is an exciting milestone for the OPV programme, demonstrating our commitment to UK shipyards while bolstering the Royal Navy’s capabilities.”

All five vessels in the second batch of River-class were initially constructed in BAE System’s Govan yard. The OPVs then moved to the Scotstoun site for fitting out.

Construction of the vessels has provided opportunities for Glasgow shipyards and supported jobs through the supply chain, the Ministry of Defence stated.

Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S) chief executive Sir Simon Bollom said: Today marks an important step toward the MOD’s vision to establish a common shared architecture across all Royal Navy warships.

“The delivery of the OPV programme is fulfilling a key commitment of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 and is part of the government’s £178bn plan to provide the UK’s armed forces with the best possible equipment.”

The Royal Navy is expected to receive the five Batch 2 OPVs by the end of 2021.