Scimitar class patrol vessel HMS Sabre, part of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, has finished her Annual Survey and Repair Period.

The Royal Navy say that the annual 30-day package, which requires the ship to be craned out of the water onto a shore-side cradle, included an emptying and cleaning of all of her tanks, extensive deep cleaning and a full internal and external survey to ensure that the ship remains safe to go to sea.

Sabre’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Lloyd Cardy said according to a news release:

“HMS Sabre and her sister ship HMS Scimitar have provided valuable service in different guises for 25 years. The way we achieve longevity like that is by careful and regular maintenance, both by the ships’ engineers and with the assistance from external contractors. 

This annual maintenance package is vital to ensuring that we can keep these vessels at the short notice required for our tasking here in Gibraltar.”

The Scimitar class vessels were originally built for use on inland waterways in Northern Ireland and were first brought into service in 1993. Sabre was commissioned for the Royal Navy in 2003 and has served as part of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron ever since.


    • having served on sabre in the late 70’s they were built as robust boats, now they are held together by gaffer tape, the gibraltar squadron should be replaced by a well drilled archer squadron fitted withe 20mm cannon they were designed to carry.

      • The tender has already opened for two entirely new boats for the Gibraltar Squadron.

        At least they’ll be replaced like for like.

        • The trouble with a like for like replacement is that a tender will go out looking for just two small boats in the 20 – 50 ton size range and there will be no economise of scale in the purchase at all.

          We also have 16 Archer class boats which are nearly 30 years old, plus 2 ex police boats used in Scotland and HMS Magpie all of which are not really enough. The UKBA also have several smaller boats as does the Inshore Fisheries Protection Agency.

          There is no co-ordination of purchasing in the Government and it leaves the Royal Marines patrolling the waterways of Iraq in LCVPs armed with just GPMGs. Can we please have a fleet of 50 Mark VI patrol boats for probably £300m? Some for the RN/RM with 25mm cannon and some for UKBA etc with water cannon. Perhaps even built under licence in the UK at a rate of one every 4 months starting now.

          • Of course, replacing the entire fleet with a single hull option would be beneficial, primarily for commonality of parts. Should also be noted that the RM operate three island class vessels (not two), and the various Police and Border forces across the UK and Overseas territories operate a wide variety of vessels. Gibraltar, for example, operates a number of patrol vessels, from the RN, RGP, GDP, and Customs.

            But in the short term, I’ll still argue that replacing the Gibraltar Squadron like-for-like is beneficial. This could have very easily been a stealth cut, with upgunned Archers taking over the role. Instead, we’re getting two new vessels, both of which will prove to be a significant improvement on what we already have, and which could prove to be an invaluable ‘test’for replacing the Fast Patrol boats at a later date.

            Additional Magpies would be welcome though!

      • the archer class were designed to carry 20mm cannon, if they were fitted and a squadron based at gibraltar, manuel and his ‘mates, might think twice after a few rounds over their bows

  1. Why not build eight proven design fpb’s like the brave class from the 1970’s which, were armed with 40mm guns and 21 inch torpedo tubes for the gibralta patrol and other inshore duties as the where good sea boats, fast and had teeth.

  2. Would something like the CB90 be a good fit for Gib? Fast, shallow draught, capable of being armed with .50 cal and if memory serves correct the Swedes or possibly Norwegians have tested them with hellfire launchers. Ok so hellfire may be over kill but I think it’s time we stopped letting Spain take the proverbial, they keep infringing because they know the worst that’ll happen is their ambassador will be sent a strongly worded letter. The next time one of their ships tried to impede a carrier or nuclear submarine they should be under no illusions, Two verbal warnings, the third warning will be a .50 round through whichever part of the vessel is least likely to have people in it…

    • agreed gib should have a frigate and squadron of aircraft, the upper rock is so important to world trade, it should be maintained as such, even a couple of rapier batteries wouldn’t go amiss it would seriously upset the spanish, but its time that they wre shown where the u.k draws a line.


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