Royal Navy OPV named HMS Forth

The first of the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) has been formally named at the BAE Systems Scotstoun shipyard, with Lady Sponsor Rachel Johnstone-Burt breaking a bottle of whisky over the bow.

Named in honour of the Forth River, the new 90m OPV is due to start sea trials prior to entering service in 2018. A fleet of five new OPVs has been ordered, which will go into service as counter-terror, anti smuggling and maritime defence units.

Construction of the OPV fleet will be carried out at the Scotstoun yard, supporting some 800 jobs and helping to develop critical skills that will be required to build the Type 26 Global Combat Ships, which will begin this summer at the yard (subject to final contract). All the ships are expected to be in service by 2021.

Minister for Defence Procurement, 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 Offshore Patrol Vessels will help protect our interests around the world.”

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, 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 Offshore Patrol Vessels will be busy protecting the security of UK waters and those of our overseas territories.

“They are arriving in service alongside a new generation of attack submarines and Fleet tankers, and will be followed shortly by new frigates and other auxiliaries; all of this capability will coalesce around the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. Together, they form a truly balanced Fleet, able to provide security at sea, promote international partnership, deter aggression and, when required, fight and win.”

Some £648M has been invested by the MOD in the OPV programme as one of the key commitments of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. It will deliver the most advanced ships of its type.

Images :© Crown Copyright. Harriett Baldwin (Min DP) cuts steel for the first of the new Offshore Patrol Vessel at BAE Govan in Scotland.


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