Babcock has laid the keel for the Irish Naval Service's new Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) at its shipbuilding yard in Devon, UK, marking the beginning of construction on the vessel.
Ireland Defence Minister Paul Kehoe TD said during the ceremony that the new OPV will be named in honour of renowned Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Kehoe said: “The government’s current ship replacement programme has delivered three Naval Service vessels, representing a significant investment by the government in the provision of defence capability for the state.
“The ship that is being built at present will be the fourth in this class, providing huge commonality benefits to the Naval Service and allowing for greater operational capacity.”
The other Irish Naval Service OPVs that are already in service have also been named after Irish literary artists, such as LÉ James Joyce, LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ William Butler Yeats.
The new 90m-long ships will feature a displacement capacity of 2,256t, and are designed to perform defence and security operations, sea fisheries patrols, and search and rescue operations.
They will also be used for overseas missions, such as the humanitarian operation in the Mediterranean.
The OPVs have been classed by Lloyd's Register and can achieve speeds of 23k and a range of 6,000nm
Irish Naval Service ships are constructed by Babcock at the Appledore facility in England, UK.
Image: Irish Naval Service’s third OPV, LÉ William Butler Yeats, was formally commissioned in October 2016. Photo: courtesy of Debbiesw.