The UK’s offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) are deployed worldwide, with HMS Mersey, HMS Severn, and HMS Tyne in the UK, HMS Forth in the South Atlantic, HMS Medway in Gibraltar, HMS Trent in the Caribbean, and HMS Tamar and HMS Spey in the Indo-Pacific.

These vessels are split into two batches: Batch 1, constructed by Vosper Thorneycroft in Southampton, includes HMS Mersey, HMS Severn, and HMS Tyne. Batch 2, built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, comprises HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar, and HMS Spey.

Financial details reveal a contract value of £378 million for Batch 1 vessels and £635 million for Batch 2. The annual running and maintenance costs for all OPVs in the financial year 2022-23 stood at £54.122 million and £51.250 million, respectively.

The information came to light in the following response to a Parliamentary Written Question.

James Cartlidge, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, stated:

“The offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) are currently deployed as follows:

b) HMS Mersey, HMS Severn and HMS Tyne are Batch 1 vessels, built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Southampton.

HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey are Batch 2 vessels, built at BAE Systems’ shipyards on the Clyde. c) It is not possible to give a purchase cost for individual vessels, however the Contract value for the two Batches were:

  • The contract for the three Batch 1 vessels had a value of £378 million.
  • The contract for the five Batch 2 vessels had a value of £635 million.

i) The annual running costs for all OPVs for Financial Year (FY) 2022-23 was £54.122 million. ii) The maintenance costs for all OPVs for FY 2022-23 was £51.250 million.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Andy reeves
Andy reeves
15 days ago

This class of ships does a big job successfully and without grabbing the headlines I wish people would stop calling them warships. I’m in the gun them. Up camp although there are strong arguments for and against doing it. I love to 6 the same changes to our ships like the one’s done by the Thai ship Krabi. A 76mm oto milara main gun and two extra DS30 cannon aft of the bridge wings and now harpoon fitted aft of the exhaust funnel as they are already built, the job of making the alterations could be done by using the… Read more »

Rowan
Rowan
15 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

As I say always, what is the point. Weapons maintenance is stupidly expensive, it’s costly to fit and means they have to go in for servicing significantly more often. It requires extra crew and money. These vessels do their job exceptionally well and can go to about 90% of the planet without fear, their current weapons are perfectly adequate for their current roll. They have used their cannons successfully to deter smugglers in the West Indies and destroy skiffs which further proves the point. They aren’t fighting ships and never should be, we have actual warships unlike lots of countries… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
15 days ago
Reply to  Rowan

Perhaps make selective modifications, based upon assigned patrol area? Agree that Carribean basin is relatively low risk as well as SA, at the moment. Med and Indi-Pacific? Not so much. Neighborhoods quickly becoming gang infested and deteriorating quickly. Upgrades in guns and some sort of self-defense missile suite, at least sufficient to cover a hasty retreat, might well be advised. Either that, or withdraw the vessels before hostilities commence. 🤔

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
15 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Indo-Pacific…🙄

Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Agree, these are great for the Caribbean, west Africa and south Atlantic. We use to send destroyers and frigates because we had no other solution. Would be a total waste of money nowadays with destroyers costing £1 billion +.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

There was a grump among the task force in 19822 that while the rest of the fleet were fighting,H.M.S LIVERPOOL’ CREW WERE GETTING THE OVERSEAS ALLOWANCE AS WEST INDIES GUARDSHIP!!!

Ian
Ian
15 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Integrating reasonably high-end armament would probably cost more than the platforms.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian

A couple of DS30 CANNON taken from Montrose and Monmouth with martlet on them would cost peanuts the ships have combat management. Systems

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Or containerise the system, USN tested SM6 from a containerised system couple of years ago. Yes you have limitations but you also have flexibilty.

DP
DP
14 days ago
Reply to  Rowan

It seems to me, the more qualified on here say the OPVs are a lot more suited to the role they perform than the high-end assets we used to send to the Caribbean etc so it sounds like the MoD got it right with this design. Would a Bofors 40mm not add more flexibility, giving the ships more offensive range and punch as well as better protection (3P rounds), should a hasty retreat be needed? I guess it would need to be integrated with a CMS, which then makes the job a lot more complex and expensive, so would then… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  DP

They have a A cmcs
fitted already.

DP
DP
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Sorry Andy, I didn’t realise, thanks for pointing that out.

Tim
Tim
15 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I don’t understand why anything needs to be in the far East. I would up gun our B2s to have a 57mm on the bow, and a camcopter hangar on the stern with the 30mm plus Martlets instead of the crane. I would also have ordered 3 more ahead of the T31s to have a squadron of 8. It would have been the quickest way to add cheap useful hulls, and with the decent air defence gun they could be escorting British tankers through the Red sea right now.

geoff
geoff
15 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Morning Tim. Their presence in the Far East is as a token of our membership in alliances and support of many Commonwealth countries-notably Aus, Malaysia and NZ. Also a number of islands such as Tuvalu,Fiji, Kiribati,Tonga etc and our two remaining overseas territories in that region-the BIOT and Pitcairn. All of these like to see an RN presence for practical and ‘family ‘reasons every now and again. They do the diplomacy job well. Saw some lovely shots of the little beauties in the blue seas around the BIOT and Pitcairn recently.

Last edited 15 days ago by geoff
Tim
Tim
15 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Ok good answer. I’d still like 8 B2s with an air defence gun so they can support our FFs and DDs instead of only being able to do the diplomacy job.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

And a mere TOKEN it is

geoff
geoff
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Better than a kick up the backside Andy😉

DP
DP
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

That does beg the question, does some of the revenue costs of running these ships come from the Foreign Office? If one of their roles is for diplomacy, flag-waving etc in the Far-East then surely some cross-charging wouldn’t go amiss?

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  Tim

The RN was always join up and see the world, we have enough issues with recruitment, if we’re going to add the strap line join up and sea the North Sea and North Atlantic thats not going to be much of an incentive 😀.

Andrew D
Andrew D
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Hear what your saying but can’t see it ,even though the world a dangerous place the government won’t put the time and money in on a project for this to be done.👍

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

The ship has sailed(forgive the pun) but I think a hangar or mission bay would have been useful, not just for a helo deployed but we’re seeing drones are cheaper and more capable. You can choose to deploy a drone(s) so it doesn’t add to baseline running cost like permenant weapons systems and would depend on the role of the vessel. There’s obviously underwater drones also.

The Khareef class had the hanger so BAe had the designs.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Indeed. Its not about going to wage war on others but being able to reasonably defend itself in a world with many rapidly evolving threats. To think that international smugglers and pirates in places such as SEAsia aren’t uparming with attack drones etc ( and already have 30 / 40mm …cough..cough moonlighting Indonesian or Myanmar naval vessels) is naive. …and they generally won’t allow themselves to be captured as it would mean a death sentence.

Mark B
Mark B
15 days ago

As interesting as this is I’m not sure it is that useful. The cost is the cost. They are performing useful tasks that we wouldn’t seriously consider not doing. Indeed it might even be suggested we (attempt to) upgrade some of them to take over the role of a T23 or two bearing in mind they are becoming scarce.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Most navys around the world refer to corvettes in the main inventory, I’d see the marines same and be happy with it as long as the ships configuration matched it’s mission

geoff
geoff
15 days ago

Great little ships that the RN initially didn’t want! They have certainly freed up assets from the many lower end duties frigates previously had to cover.

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

I don’t agree with up gunning them but a hangar/mission bay would have been useful, especially with drones becoing cheaper and more capable. And its a capability you can add or remove or change the type of depending on the role of vessel. Obviously there’s also the manned helo also.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Same story can be used for about echo and the enterprise which could do most of what the rivers are able to perform

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
15 days ago

How can be this numbers compared with the information on 2015, as can be seen in “Revised_2015-06440_Average_costs_RN_Surface_vessels.pdf”?

The latter states £3.2M per hull for River B1.

It does NOT include, maritime domain maintenance costs, central allowances, overheads for common services, support costs for Naval base and other MOD top level budgets, IT/com, aircrafts (n/a for OPV), and training and force generation costs.

The annual running costs” in this release is £13M per hull. Inflation between 2023 and 2015 is 20 percent, so cannot explain them…

Expat
Expat
14 days ago

So the first of the rivers are 21 years old I beleive, we all talk T32s ad T83s but where’s the plan to replace the B1 rivers?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Expat

I’d imagine dropped and the B2s withdrawn to the UK as Labour winds in our overseas footprint to concentrate on Europe.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago

Labour? Do you think they’ll do anything else than us already done.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I fear. We shall wait and see.

Expat
Expat
14 days ago

But remember our global basing isn’t just hulls. What will happen to these, for instance Belize no point in training for jungle warfare if Labour’s policy is never to deploy outside Europe. There’s further risk also that new hulls for go kit needed to operate in certain climates after all why include it if you have no policy to support where its used. A policy where you intend only to deploy to one region has massive ramifications across all the services and the equipment they get.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Agree. We await. As they’re in next. Tories have had their “turn”

Expat
Expat
14 days ago

Problem is to ramp back up once these capabilites have gone will be impossible.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Then Labour will have achieved their goal.
Regardless of cuts, the Tories keep the UK involved in world affairs and I don’t see the strategic sense of withdrawal as others will fill the void.
Just when the west generally need to be engaged.
Let’s see if I’m right. I’ll be delighted that my fears are unfounded.

Expat
Expat
14 days ago

I’m no fan of either of the main parties but I agree it’s better to keep capability no matter how small and with it the infrastructure and knowledge to be able ramp it up if needed. There’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest your fears are well placed such as coauthor papers with Germany or Rusi speaches or conference voting patterns. We need to await final manifesto but I fear that it will offer no real substance just waffle around Strategic review and NATO tests. Why because it sounds like the right thing to the unsuspecting voter. However the… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001
12 days ago

Listening to Kier Starmer on the news , he doess sound keen to say the right things to match USA policy . Ukraine Israel two examples. Tony Blair big on usa support so I think and hope kier starmer will take up the baton . If he gets elected and take defence seriously

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  Expat

We’ll give them to Brazil, they’ve got half of what was the fleet already

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Probably maybe we could buy the Khareefs back from Oman 🙂

Martyn Heale
Martyn Heale
14 days ago

HMS Mersey, HMS Severn and HMS Tyne are currently up for sale and are being marketed on behalf by DESA. There is a great video showing these and other ships currently serving and around the globe up for sale.

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Heale

So that answers the question there’s no replacement planned.

Expat
Expat
14 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Heale

So.as understand the B1 will.go by 2028. But they’ve started the process to sell them now. So in 4 years they will be disposed of with no replacement in the pipeline.

Peter S
Peter S
14 days ago

These cost numbers don’t cover the same things. The River1s were leased by the RN for 10 years at a cost of £110 m and then bought in 2012 for £39m. No idea where the contract value of £378m comes from. The R2 purchase costs were inflated as part of the workshare agreement with BAE. If we were to order more B2s, the cost would bear no relation to the number in the ministerial answer.
Running costs look high at @£13m per vessel.

Max
Max
12 days ago

Adding the martlet missiles to these ships would increase capability and lethality for little cost and they would be easy to fit too