Construction of the final Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) took an important step forward today, as the Minister of State for Defence Procurement started a computer-guided laser to cut the first piece of hull.
During a visit to BAE Systems’ Govan yard in Glasgow, Defence Minister Philip Dunne saw progress on the build of the first and second OPVs and met members of the workforce on a programme that has protected more than 800 Scottish jobs.
HMS Trent is the third of three Offshore Patrol Vessels which will begin joining the fleet in 2017. Alongside HMS Forth and HMS Medway, HMS Trent will go on to take part in counter terrorism, combating piracy, halting smuggling and defending UK waters.
The vessels are being built at BAE Systems’ shipyards on the Clyde as part of a £348 million contract.
Defence Minister, Philip Dunne, said:
These new ships will provide an important capability to the Royal Navy and our armed forces. They will perform vital tasks in defending the nation’s interests around the world.
This investment forms part of over £160 billion in our 10 year equipment plan which is funded out of the newly protected defence budget.
Manufacture of these ships sustains over 800 quality engineering jobs here in Scotland, ensuring that the shipyards on the Clyde continue to sit at the heart of a thriving naval shipbuilding capability. They are paving the way for work to begin on our new T26 frigates next year.
This third generation of River-class patrol ship is expected to displace approximately 1,800 tonnes, be about 90 metres long and 13 metres wide and have a range of over 5,000 nautical miles.
Director Ships Support at the MOD’s Defence, Equipment and Support organisation, Neal Lawson, said:
HMS Trent, along with HMS Forth and HMS Medway, will provide the Royal Navy with the flexibility to operate in a wide variety of roles in UK waters and overseas. More capable than the existing River class, they will have a flight deck to take the latest Merlin helicopters, fire fighting equipment, and increased storage capacity and accommodation.
But the importance of this programme is not only that the OPVs will have the latest technology in new ships, but also that the build programme acts as a stepping stone to work on our future multi-mission warship, the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
Construction of the first two ships, HMS Forth and HMS Medway, is already well underway.