The British Royal Navy’s Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Forth has been declared ready for frontline operations after completing a three-week operational sea training period in western Scotland.
HMS Forth is the first of the navy’s five new patrol ships that will safeguard UK interests at home and overseas.
The vessel is set to replace HMS Clyde as the Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Falkland Islands. It will perform patrols around the UK before heading for the Falklands duty at the end of the year.
The remaining four patrol vessels will operate from ports and bases around the world. Domestic duties will include protecting UK territory, intelligence gathering and safeguarding fishing stocks.
Operational sea training is a mandatory phase for every British warship before taking up frontline operations.
During the three-week spell, instructors tested the ability of HMS Forth and its sailors to deal with fires, engine breakdowns, running aground, missile and bomb damage.
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Testing also covered other aspects such as fighting off enemy aircraft, refuelling on the go and providing humanitarian aid.
In addition, the training included a display of gunfire against ‘enemy’ forces on the ranges of western Scotland.
HMS Forth first lieutenant Matthew McGinlay said: “Operational Sea Training is always a difficult test, which has been made slightly more challenging by the fact we are the first of this class of ship to complete it.
“The training we’ve received is second to none and has put us in a strong position to deploy and conduct operations anywhere in the world.”
Meanwhile, HMS Trent, the third of the quintet, has completed its maiden sea trials in the Firth of Clyde and will formally join the fleet later this year.
Sea trials involved testing Trent’s main engineering systems and sensors.
Future members of the ship’s company also joined the vessel for the trials to have a firsthand experience of its systems and capabilities.
Forth and Trent briefly met during the latter’s trials to perform combined manoeuvres in the Firth of Clyde.
The programme recorded another milestone as the second patrol ship HMS Medway was handed over by builders BAE Systems.