The British Royal Navy's first new Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) has been formally named HMS Forth in a ceremony at BAE Systems' Scotstoun shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland.

HMS Forth is the first of five planned OPVs and is named in honour of the famous Scottish river. The vessel will soon commence sea trials before entering service with the Royal Navy next year.

The 90m-long warship will perform major counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling and maritime defence duties.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “As part of a sustained programme delivering world-class ships and submarines, HMS Forth’s naming is a vitally important part of the government’s ten-year £178bn plan to provide our armed forces with the equipment they need.

“From counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean to securing the UK’s borders on patrols closer to home, the Royal Navy’s new OPVs will help protect our interests around the world.”

All the five OPVs will be constructed on the Clyde and are expected to be in the Royal Navy service by 2021.

HMS Forth will feature a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter.

The vessel will be manned by 58 crew members and can displace approximately 2,000t. It has a maximum speed of nearly 24k and can sail 5,500nm without the need for resupplying.

"From counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean to securing the UK’s borders closer to home, the Royal Navy’s new OPVs will help protect our interests around the world."

Naval Staff chief and first sea lord admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “With the naming of HMS Forth, the Royal Navy looks forward to another impending arrival in our future fleet.

“In a few short years these five OPVs will be busy protecting the security of UK waters and those of our overseas territories.”

Construction work on HMS Forth and the other four vessels of the same class have helped sustain 800 jobs in Scotland, as well as the critical skills needed to develop the Type 26 global combat ships (GCS).

Construction of GCS will begin at Scotland’s Govan shipyard in summer this year.

Image: Sea Cadets attending the naming ceremony of Royal Navy’s HMS Forth OPV. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.