The British Royal Navy’s next-generation patrol ship HMS Forth has left the Portsmouth naval base for a deployment to the Falkland Islands.

The long-term deployment of HMS Forth will see the ship act as the guardian of the Falkland Islands and Britain’s South Atlantic territories.

HMS Forth is the first in the navy’s fleet of five Batch 2 River-class next-generation patrol vessels.

The ship will take over the mission from HMS Clyde, which has offered protection to the Falklands and nearby South Georgia for the past 12 years.

Clyde is one of four first-generation River-class ships in service with the British Navy.

HMS Forth commanding officer commander Bob Laverty said: “Today is a momentous day for the River-class. I am extremely proud of my ship’s company for their efforts over the past two years in getting us to this point and grateful to the entire enterprise for their support and perseverance throughout our generation as a first-of-class warship.”

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The five new bigger, faster River-class ships can be heavily armed and provide the capability to land and refuel Wildcat and Merlin helicopters. They can accommodate more than 50 troops on missions.

Fishery Protection Squadron head commander Simon Pressdee said: “Forth continues to pave the way for the class. We fully expect her to spend most of her time at sea on operations with only a fraction of the time spent in maintenance, while her crew will rotate to and from the UK.

“The ability to deploy these ships while maintaining a vital work-life balance is what proves so popular with both those who task them – and those who serve on them.”

A team of Royal Navy engineers will be available at East Cove Military Port to support HMS Forth in delivering its mission.

Forth’s sister ships include Medway, Trent, Tamar and Spey.