Royal Navy commissions second-generation River-class OPV HMS Spey
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Royal Navy commissions second-generation River-class OPV HMS Spey

21 Jun 2021 (Last Updated June 21st, 2021 12:25)

BAE Systems-built HMS Spey was formally commissioned for active service at a ceremony in Invergordon.

Royal Navy commissions second-generation River-class OPV HMS Spey
HMS Spey has been commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet in Invergordon. Credit: Royal Navy.

The British Royal Navy has added the fifth and final second-generation River-class vessel HMS Spey into the fleet.

The newest Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of the British Navy was formally commissioned for active service during a ceremony alongside the Ross-shire town of Invergordon.

HMS Spey was built by BAE Systems. It left Clyde shipyard in October last year and has been undergoing operational sea training to prepare for active services.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said: “Today marks a significant milestone for the Royal Navy’s second generation of River Class vessels, as HMS Spey prepares to join her four sister ships to provide essential maritime security for the UK.

“Built on the River Clyde, HMS Spey symbolises vital industry expertise central to delivering the next-generation of naval capabilities.”

There are currently two generations of River-class ships with the Royal Navy.

The first generation of the vessels started operating in the early 2000s and are primarily used to protect fishing stocks and for other general duties.

The second generation of River-class vessels are larger and faster compared to the predecessors, and can be used for different missions including counter-piracy and disaster relief operations.

These 90m-long ships feature a large flight deck to accommodate a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter. The OPVs can operate with up to 50 Royal Marines on board.

The other ships of second-generation River-class are HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar.

Royal Navy Commander Operations rear admiral Simon Asquith said: “The Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels are impressively flexible ships and are already making a real difference to current operations globally.

“As we speak, HMS Trent, HMS Forth and HMS Medway are providing sustained forward presence in some of the UK’s global areas of interest.

“The commissioning of Spey demonstrates a further development to the Royal Navy’s role in Global Britain where, later in the year in company with her sister ship Tamar, she will deploy to the Indo-Asian-Pacific region for the foreseeable future.”