The first of the Royal Navy’s next-generation offshore patrol vessels (OPV) has been formally accepted after four months of extensive trials.
Designed for a crew of less than 60, the 90-metre HMS Forth has been signed over to the Britain’s Ministry of Defence from builder BAE Systems.
The £116 million (US$164 million) OPV is the first of five offshore patrol boats built to replace the four original River-class vessels introduced into service between 2003 and 2007.
Under a mixed civilian/RN crew, Forth was put through her paces in the Firth of Clyde and off the Scottish West Coast since the end of August.
The 90-metre warship will soon be sailed to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth, where she will be commissioned into the Royal Navy and prepare for counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and other maritime defence operations.
Displacing about 2,000 tonnes, the Batch 2 OPV has a maximum speed of 24 knots and can sail 5,500 nautical miles before having to resupply.
She is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019 and enter service by 2021.
She is expected to carry a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.
Forth will remain at the Scotstoun yard in Glasgow for a short period to complete some additional work requested by the defence ministry and on departure will be the first warship to leave Glasgow since HMS Duncan in 2013.
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