River class Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Clyde entered Portsmouth Harbour for the first time in 12 years this morning.

Clyde is to be decommissioned at the end of 2019, at which time it will be sold to the Brazilian Navy.

The vessels only time off station has been maintenance periods in South Africa.

Local media earlier reported that Rear Admiral Amaury Calheiros Boite confirmed that the Brazilian Navy had been in talks with the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to take over the lease of HMS Clyde when it expires at the end of 2019.

HMS Clyde is part of the Royal Navy’s Fishery Protection Squadron. The Offshore Patrol Vessel was designed and built by BAE Systems and is leased and operated by the Royal Navy, while the company provides maintenance and logistical support to the vessel.

HMS Clyde will be replaced by a new Batch 2 River class vessel, HMS Forth.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I expect the Brazilians will up-arm her significantly!


Cruise missiles, anti balistic, torpedoes and a few 16 inchers.


You can’t beat a 16 incher….so I’m told! Ooh err matron 🙂

John Clark

She might need some re-ballasting and a slight stretch for 16 inch guns Herodotus!

Nice Christmas present for the Brazilian Navy though….


Reminds me of the late Dr Bull, the Canadian scientist, that welded the barrels of two 16 inch ex-US Navy guns together. The object was to launch small reconnaissance satellites into low orbit using a sabot. He achieved some success at doing this but the US decided that they were not going to fund a development programme. He went off in a sulk and dabbled with Hussein producing a supergun. I believe he was murdered in his hotel room by Mosad agents. One of those James Bond type stories that seem hardly credible!

Nigel Collins

A job extremely well done, congrats to all the crew and welcome home.

Hopefully, we will see an increase in the number of the Batch 2’s fitted out for escort duties as well as fisheries protection to replace the ageing Batch 1’s.


Trying to turn OPVs into escorts isn’t really practical. Not only is there no budget for it, but that money would be better spent resolving manpower issues and either procuring additional T31s or sorting out the maintenance issues with the rest of the fleet.

Nigel Collins

The defence select committee has suggested we increase our spending to 3% per cent of GDP from its current level of 2%.

Let’s wait and see what this government intends to do given that we are now leaving the EU and need to be able to stand on our own two feet military.

It makes little sense to me to be solely reliant on other nations once we do!


What the defence select committee recommends and what politicians do are two very different things. In the midst of Brexit and a dozen big spending commitments, finding an additional ~£20bn a year for defence seems too good to be true. I hope I’m wrong, but… I struggle to see how leaving the EU changes our defence position significantly. We’re still in Europe, we’re still in NATO, none of our existing defence commitments change. Depending on foreign policy, there may be an additional focus on defence engagement abroad, but it doesn’t fundamentally chance anything else. In any case, none of that… Read more »


Agreed, we don’t participate in EU military activities in any significant way; our presence in the Baltics is NATO, and our more active partnerships with France, Netherlands and Norway are unilateral rather than via the EU.
Increased manning will give us something like 15% greater availability for our escort fleet without building any more hulls at all, seeing as there’s a T23 and a T45 tied up semi permanently on a rotational basis due to lack of crew.


Were the RN manpower issues due to the government cutting 5,000 Royal Navy personnel since 2010? And then not exactly trying to recruit as many as possible, just like reducing sandhurst intake numbers. We probably train far more foreign officers/ soldiers than our own these days!. Atleast the Gurkhas have had an increase in numbers!


The RN has too many Admirals tied up in port for lack of ships and sailors 🙂


The answer to your first question is, in short, yes.

Daniele Mandelli

According to the RN they will in due course be based abroad. As 1SL alluded to a few years ago.

Hopefully relieving our main escorts from this task.

Allied to the LSS that I believe will be procured, and the T31.

I agree. Leaving the EU makes no difference to our membership of NATO or our commitments to it or elsewhere.


It makes no sense always sending ships to the Caribbean every year, may aswell have an OPV permenantly based there and maybe a new base to go with it, maybe fund it out of foreign aid for disaster relief operations, shame our OPVs have no dedicated hangar for a small chopper! Merlins a bit over kill. An old lynx would have been great, folding tail ect.


we already have a base in the caribbean, its on Andros island in the bahamas and is jointly operated with the US. Nice place too.

Nigel Collins

If we are so short of money and manpower, my suggestion makes more sense surely.

Type 31 cost £250M (expected to exceed this amount according to a post by Janes Defence)

Batch 2 cost £ 155M

Type 31 Crew 117 (Based on Iver Huitfeldt class frigate)

B2 Crew 34

I would have thought the Type 31’s would be of more use protecting the carriers and patroling the world oceans and shipping lanes than UK escort duties?

And don’t forget, we still need ASM’s to fulfil this role, price not included!



Literally the opposite. When you’re short on manpower and hulls, the solution isn’t to take hulls from other important roles, increase their manpower requirement, and end up with an inefficient half arsed corvette. What relevance does the unit cost have? We’re discussing upgunning existing ships, not buying new OPVs. Unless you’re suggesting we buy more OPVs instead of T31? Regardless, you’d have to account for a significant increase in the cost and crew of an R2 to make it fit for escort duties, and even then it’s still lacking crucial features like a hangar or mission bay, and would be… Read more »

Nigel Collins

My point at the beginning of this thread was to replace the ageing batch 1’s not add to the five Batch 2’s that we have ordered and make them more flexible. It’s about making the most of what you have available and having a Type 31 escorting Russian ships around these shores makes little sense to me. “Furthermore, the BAES OPV can be fitted with up to six 20 ft ISO containers. There is no indication that this capability has been removed from the R2s. This means that the ships will be able to be fitted with just about any… Read more »

Meirion X

You are right that River batch 1s will Not last for ever. There will come a point a decision will need to be made to either, replace them with more batch 2s or Not replace them at all. Then the UK back down to 5 OPV’s!

Nigel Collins

In which case strike a sensible balance between B 2’s and type 31? Both of which appear on face value to be lightly armed, especially in regard to ASM’s!

The B2’s could be far more useful to the RN now that we have them with options for canister launched weapon systems depending on the mission type (see above).


Meirion X

It seems to me the decision to retain the batch 1’s was a stop-gap measure until all 5 batch 2’s enter service, by 2021. Plus, just in case a Post Brexit conflict with EU fishermen. Are we expecting a conflict this coming Spring?


River 2 is a very flexible ship design. I can see it becoming a RN workhorse with containerised weapons and unmanned remote vehicles, and roles defined by crew skills: inspecting fishing nets, Caribbean humanitarian aid containers, anti drug running, anti-piracy ( with helo from an RFA ), casualty evacuation, fleet ready escort, mine hunting mother ship, global OPV, special forces insertion, lily pad refuelling for extending range of task force Merlins.
Very handy ship. I’d build more when we retire the B1s.




I prefer the Saab missile its cheaper and can target land and ships, longer range also, is it the RBS15?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins

I’ve mentioned this many time before with the added ability to launch from land, sea, or air. Range 300km+ a mobile land system would be a good choice for us too.


Nigel Collins

And in addition to this, the LRASM will eventually canister launched too.

“For smaller frigate-sized vessels that don’t use the Mark 41 VLS (in U.S. service, Littoral Combat Ships or some future FFG(X) design), Lockheed Martin is developing a deck-mounted canister-launched version—though the U.S. Navy has chosen the cheaper, shorter-range Norwegian Naval Strike Missile to fulfil this role for now.”


Steve Taylor

We won’t get 5 T31 for the budget.

We would better buying 6 Holland class OPV. For the budget we could afford them all to have the ‘electronics mast’ option and perhaps a few Wildcat too.


I disagree. I think we will. And we should have at least 8. The Babcock bid has been accepted: Type 31 ought to be a low risk build. The sooner we start paying Babcock to build new ships rather than Lifex Type 23 the better. Sir John Parker was spot on. We need to stop treating RN ships as if they are classic car restorations!

Daniele Mandelli

I agree Paul. I also think what will happen is T26 down to 6, with just 3 in batch 2. And the T31 increased to 8. Saves Billions and then HMG can say the RN escort fleet has increased. I don’t agree with significant extra armament on the R B2s. They are presence vessels, or force enablers. Enabling our best ships to be used in their primary role. I would like to see the B2s forward deployed ( as the RN have already implied ) There was an excellent article on Save the RN about this, which included possible extra… Read more »

Paul T

I’m still doubtful that 5 Type 31’s can be produced for the £1.25 billion allocated,there is always going to be a few problems and snags along the way which will push the price up – not massively but maybe up to about £100 million per Hull or so, hopefully I’m wrong but time will tell.But Daniele has a fair point – with a new regime in No10 and whispers of scrutiny with the MOD’s finances the price of the T26 vs the T31 in the eyes of lets just say the Military Illiterate will surely raise some questions.Id hate to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I wonder if the naming saves them. Typically London was last I think and the Cardiff Glasgow Belfast first. Far easier to cut that, it’s only the Capital of Great Britain after all!


This ship is only 14 years old, could it not serve a purpose in home waters

Paul T

Ian – certainly but all things considered its a win-win for all parties.If the RN saw a need to keep it on their books then surely that would be the outcome but with the B2 Rivers coming into service they should have all needs covered.


Every Time I watched Hms Clyde on tv it seemed to always be having problems! Atleast BAE paid for the “problems”


I’m not sure if this could be done, but…

If BAE Systems was smart, they would take HMS Clyde, refurbish/refit the ship at their expense; and then donate it back to the Royal Navy.

HMS Clyde could be used with the 3 batch 1’s in home waters, or as a spare hull for when the batch 1’s need service.

I think this would earn BAE more than it would cost them.



Didn’t they also recommend another 7 P8 Poseidon’s minimum.

Steve R

Would be lovely to increase defence spending to 3% but not likely to happen. The Defence Select Committee has been saying that for years but government doesnt listen. Best defence gets is a half-billion here and there to stave off more cuts. Jeremy Hunt had pledged to increase defence spending by about £15 billion, would have been around 2.75% then. But hey ho, we got Boris instead… Personally I’d rather see more Type 31s brought in. 8-10 instead of 5, then up arm them. Could be done relatively cheaply; 24 VLS cells for Sea Ceptor plus two quad canister launchers… Read more »

John Clark

The 2020 defence review should answer the question of how many escorts/ personal are needed to provide a permanent four escort plus SSN availability for the active carrier and meet standing commitments.

That’s the question, it remains to be seen if Boris will rise to the challenge….


I think bojo has made his intentions on defence spending pretty clear, bare bones minimum and no more money.

Daniele Mandelli

Things are never as basic or clear cut than that. There will be cuts, there always are in SDSR’s. Does not mean the roof is caving in.



The country could certainly afford increased defence expenditure, but the political will is not there. It would mean increased taxation, which the government is opposed to, or even greater cuts elsewhere in the government’s budget. Brexit is generally expected – by all credible mainstream economists – to be bad for the economy, so it’s not as if there will be a sudden boom providing more cash all round. In fact, the noises coming out of government all point to a defence review (aka defence cuts).

Andrew dyson

Additional type 31s would seem to be the answer given the success of the original design. Could be built in the north east and other locations


Building in multiple locations eliminates the efficiency gains from a single yard building the same design. As much as I’d like to see surface warship building return to England, practicality dictates a T31 production line at Rosyth

Andrew Vaites

Maybe it’s a two fold thing
First not up arming the B2 stops them being used as frigates

Second by forward deploying them it frees up more important ships and then makes the case for more frigates
A post point could be that you don’t require a battleship to show the flag when a patrol boat will do


‘The vessels only time off station has been maintenance periods in South Africa’ – I wondered how it was maintained….


Same as the current Gulf T23 is maintained .

The UK “owner” of the maintenance ( Babcock or BAe) sends out contractors . They also employ local Shipyard specialists to do the regular work.
Painting can be done by local contractors.
Mechanical and Pipework by local Shipyard contractors.

Weapons and radar is where you need UK specialists.


Thanks for the info – I thought there was a maintenance ship based there permanently in the past, which seemed a waste.

andy reeves

so who will ‘rent US the rest of the fleet?

C Jones

BZ to the crew of the Clyde. Welcome home!

andy reeves

i hope you get a long and well deserved break with your families, you’ve earned it.


Hmmm… Brazil?
They discussed it and said no apparently.
I have been informed that Its going somewhere else unless there has been a late change in plans.

Steve P

Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like it if every time an OPV story appears on the UKDJ someone does not launch into a diatribe about how they should be somehow up-gunned. The topic has been done to death and it is clear that they are not for intended for or fit for this purpose. Let’s just rejoice in the fact that their additional numbers will ease the pressure on our escort fleet as it modernizes and will provide a starting point for crew/command training. Thanks! Steve


In that case, maybe they should be fitted with a rubber strike rail around the upper hull. We don’t want Lt Leslie Philips’ ‘right hand down a bit’ rearranging the deck levels of HMS Troutbridge’!

andy reeves

so you’d prefer a fleet of them?

andy reeves

looks like brazil is eventually own half of what used to be the royal navy, they’ve two type 22’s. ocean


Candidates for replacement by cheaper to run and younger Type 23s I would have thought.


But its not all bad news, I would assume that the likes of BAe and other UK defence companies get revenue from some of the licensed systems and equipment maintenance.