Second Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel named in Glasgow
A brand new Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) has been christened at the Scotstoun shipyard in Glasgow.
HMS Medway – second of five Batch 2 River class OPVs – is the tenth vessel to bear that name since the 1690s. It’s a distinction that demonstrates the longstanding relationship between the Royal Navy and the River Medway, which dates back to Elizabethan times and the Historic Dockyard Chatham.
The vessel was named by her patron, Lady Wendy Fallon, during a ceremony held at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard. There, Lady Fallon cracked a bottle of gin across the ship’s bow in honour of Chatham dockyard – the very place the gin was distilled.
What’s more, Lady Fallon’s husband – Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – has personal ties; his Sevenoaks constituency skirts the borders of the River Medway.
Following the ceremony, Sir Fallon said: “This year we have already named our second aircraft carrier, two Type 26 frigates and the first in the Offshore Patrol Vessel class. It is a privilege to see yet another ship named for the growing Royal Navy. Named after Kent’s main river, my family has taken a particular interest in HMS Medway over the course of its construction and this is a proud day for all involved.
“From counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling to securing the UK’s borders, HMS Medway will help keep Britain safe.”
This latest OPV houses 58 crew-members and comes equipped with a 30mm cannon and a flight deck able to accommodate a Merlin helicopter. Displacing around 2,000 tonnes, she boasts a maximum speed of 24 knots and can sail 5,500 nautical miles without resupply.
It is thought that HMS Medway will take to the high seas in 2019. She will deploy across the globe, undertaking priority counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations. Already, her sister ship – HMS Forth – is undergoing sea trials.
Sir Simon Bollom, Chief of Materiel (Ships) for Defence Equipment and Support, said: “The naming of HMS Medway is a proud moment for the Royal Navy, supported by DE&S, and our Industry partners and is a significant milestone in the delivery of this world-class fleet of five new warships.
“I look forward not only to the deliveries of the final three OPVs, but continued good progress on the Type 26 programme which the OPV programme has enabled through the sustainment of jobs and skills.”
To date, the OPV programme has sustained around 800 jobs in Scotland at BAE Systems. It is maintaining the skills necessary to build cutting-edge, anti-submarine warfare frigates – the Type 26s – for the Royal Navy, which is growing for the first time since World War II.
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