Work is officially underway on the banks of the River Clyde, near Glasgow, as HMS Spey – the fifth in a brand new fleet of Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPVs) – begins a lengthy construction phase.
Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) – the UK’s Defence procurement organisation – was on-hand to push the button and cut the first sheet of steel at BAE Systems’ Govan Shipyard.
Here, HMS Spey will be built alongside her sister ships HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar – all of which are either under construction or in preparation for sea trials – before being relocated to the Scotstoun yard, where she will be outfitted for operation duty.
Understandably, this comes as a welcome boost to the local economy. HMS Spey and the wider OPV programme continues to sustain 800 highly skilled jobs and cultivate the know-how needed to build the next generation Type 26 Frigates, which will begin in Govan over the summer months.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said: “The start of work on HMS Spey, the fifth Offshore Patrol Vessel, is another milestone in a significant programme of work which is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Scotland and the vital shipbuilding skills needed to build the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Frigates.
“The on-going successful delivery of these ships is a key element of the Government’s ten-year, £178Bn equipment plan to provide the UK’s armed forces with the kit they deserve.”
Measuring 90 metres long, HMS Spey will displace around 2,000 tonnes. A 30mm cannon will be hoisted aboard along with a flight deck able to accommodate a Merlin helicopter.
HMS Spey will be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019, and it is expected to be operational by 2021. It is one of two ships being built as part of a £287M agreement between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems.
DE&S CEO Tony Douglas added: “The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme; today’s steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too.
“I am looking forward to continuing this long-standing and close relationship when we begin manufacturing for the Type 26 fleet later in the summer.”
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