The British Royal Navy’s new hydrographic survey motor launch vessel, HMS Magpie, has begun rough-weather sea trials in the Irish Sea.
HMS Magpie’s main structure was built by boat builder Safehaven Marine before being delivered to Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK), the prime contractor and integrator of the UK Ministry of Defence’s workboat programme.
AEUK is under contract to deliver of up to 38 workboats along with an extended in-service support programme until 2024.
HMS Magpie represents the first of the new multi-role SEA Class workboats and will replace the navy’s veteran survey launch vessel, HMS Gleaner, after 34 years of service.
Magpie new commanding officer lieutenant commander William Alexander said: “Magpie will help lead the way in modernising the Royal Navy’s survey and underwater surveillance capabilities.
“Her primary role will be in maintaining the integrity of coastal waters, ensuring the safety of navigation and resilience of key national infrastructure in UK ports, and with an enduring presence around the UK she will also contribute to national security at sea.”
The 18m-long catamaran is slated to be delivered and commissioned into service with the Royal Navy during the third quarter of this year.
The vessel is expected to cruise at speeds of 20k in sea state four conditions with waves up to 2.5m-high.
It will be able to accommodate a crew of up to 12 personnel.
AEUK is set to perform the vessel’s final fit-out, commissioning and sea acceptance testing at its waterside facility at Portland Harbour in Dorset.
The vessel will feature improved military / hydrographic equipment, including the latest high-resolution, shallow-water multi-beam echo sounder and side-scan sonar.
HMS Magpie has been designed to be capable of launching remote-controlled underwater devices in order to help conduct mine search missions along the seabed.