The United Kingdom’s essential subsea infrastructure is set to be reinforced as the first vessel of two planned undersea surveillance ships arrives in Birkenhead.
Upon becoming operational, this vessel will be dedicated to protecting seabed telecommunications cables and oil and gas pipelines.
The 98-meter-long adaptable offshore patrol vessel will serve as a ‘mother ship’ by operating remote and autonomous offboard systems for underwater surveillance and seabed warfare, which are crucial to national security.
According to a press release:
“Shortly after arriving at Cammell Laird, the ship will be repainted and have critical military equipment installed, before taking up its role as the first of two Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ships, operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) later this year.
The vessel will be formally handed over to control of the RFA in the next few days, several months ahead of schedule – following an acceleration of the acquisition announced by the Defence Secretary in November 2022.”
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said:
“The first of two dedicated subsea surveillance ships will join the fleet this Summer, bolstering our capabilities and security against threats posed now and into the future. It is paramount at a time when we face Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, that we prioritise capabilities that will protect our critical national infrastructure.”