The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £287m manufacturing and support contract with BAE Systems Maritime, Naval Ships to develop two additional offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Navy.
The OPV programme will be able to retain around 800 shipbuilding jobs in Scotland, with additional jobs retained at more than 100 companies in the UK supply chain.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin also cut the first steel on HMS Tamar at the Govan shipyard.
Baldwin said: “Protected by a rising defence budget, the OPV programme is an important part of the government’s £178bn plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need.”
With the construction of the two new ships, named HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, the UK’s fleet of modern River-class OPVs will increase from three to five.
Under the terms of the contract, BAE Systems will also provide support for all five of the new ships, slated to commence service in 2018.
MoD Defence Equipment and Support Organisation CEO Tony Douglas said: “This agreement will deliver two more offshore patrol vessels which the Royal Navy will use to protect the nation’s interest at home and around the world.
“These modern ships will have a versatile flight deck, improved firefighting equipment and greater storage and accommodation than previous vessels, giving UK sailors a decisive advantage on a huge range of operations.”
HMS Tamar and HMS Spey will be used to carry out counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling, anti-piracy and maritime defence operations.
The two new ships will feature a 30mm cannon, as well as a flight deck, which will be capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.
With a maximum speed of 24k, these vessels will be able to displace approximately 2,000t and have the capability to sail for up to 5,500nm before they need to be resupplied.
Expected to be delivered in 2019, the two vessels will be developed at UK’s Govan shipyard before being floated to Scotstoun to be fitted out.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s new River-class offshore patrol vessel. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.