HMS Medway recently spent time in the Firth of Clyde conducting sea trials.

The vessel is understood to have operated with a mixed civilian/Royal Navy crew under Admiralty Trials Master Capt Graham Baxter.

The ship is the second of five 2,000-tonne River-class 2.0 vessels built for patrol duties in home waters and beyond by BAE Systems on the Clyde.

Throughout the trials package, all onboard systems were put through their paces including the Integrated Platform Management System, which controls and monitors most of the ship’s systems, and the Combat Management System which is used to collate sensor information and assist the command team in the decisions they make when in action.

The Automated Small Calibre Gun, the 30mm cannon on the forecastle, fired rounds at an inflatable target with impressive accuracy and the off-ship fire monitors tested correctly.

Medway is now back in Glasgow undergoing a final period of tweaks, as well as processing and analysing results from the trials before she sails down to her future home of Portsmouth soon, say the MoD.

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andy reeves
Guest

toy boats, total waste, at least the thai’s have shown what can be done, by mounting a 76mm oto melara gun on theirs, the krabi

Steve Taylor
Guest

The B1 Rivers have been fantastic ships, the only flaw (Clyde apart) is lack of flight deck. And though that has rectified in the B2 ships I think 2000t hull should have a hangar so a Wildcat can be carried if needed. (Not withstanding a large covered space easily accessible could prove useful at times……….) And perhaps one of those rinky-dinky aft launching ramp for a large RIB wouldn’t have gone a miss. And ice strengthening…… The basic design is sound, but the package is a bit poor. A bit like buying a car and finding your friend bought the… Read more »

Graham
Guest
Graham

The Defense Secretary would order 76mm paint ball ammo and have it fired at the next Spanish warship to trespass in Gib waters….

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

I like your thinking Graham, followed by closing in for a ships company moony!

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

It’s a river class patrol not for heavy military duty saying that it’s bigger than the majority of the Russian rust fleet basically a russian navy made up of corvetts

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

That Russian “Rust fleet” is being renewewed & new or rusty, they’re usually comprehensively armed rather than our Rivers token armament. Most other OPVs have 76mm + other more substantial gear. I wonder often if someone in the MOD has the job( & are highly succesfull at it)-of making our servicemen & ships as vulnerable as possible. In a serious conflict any RN ship is a target & should be given basic armament & cointermeasures rather than becoming cannon fodder. If we had a decent sized fleet there might be a little justification, but with such a small cadre left,… Read more »

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

Sorry, one “ewe” too many; must be time to count sheep.

andy reeves
Guest

WHOEVER NEEDS IT DOH!

andy reeves
Guest

spanish fishermen

HF
Guest

2000 tonnes was the size of a WW2 destroyer.

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

Seriously under armed & no hanger. Someone should find the money to re-equip these ships at the earliest opportunity. Shouldn’t be hard to improve their use 100%.

Nick C
Guest
Nick C

RGR. Easy answer, prior to hand over from the contractor to the customer. However there is always a lot of cross fertilisation with both ships company and contractors personnel on board at the same time during trials to keep both sides honest, and to learn how things work. If you look at the pictures of QE entering Portsmouth in summer 2017, ( I was watching ) the ships company are at procedure Alpha on the flight deck and all the contractors personnel are fallen in, all in white overalls, between the islands. And Andy, I disagree with your assessment, I… Read more »

Lusty
Guest

Pretty much.

For example, HMS Prince of Wales officially received her name in 2017, but she has yet to be formally commissioned.

Important to also note that Medway is on builders sea trials, she’ll likely enter her own sea trials/FOST after entering service and will undergo trials throughout her service life.

Alex T
Guest
Alex T

Might be good to have one of these parked permanently in Gibraltar?

Steve Taylor
Guest

And what would you do with that?

BB85
Guest

Or in the Irish Sea after the paddy’s seized two of our fishing vessels this week lolz.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P
4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

That’s surely precisely what they were built for. Someone says they couldn’t get out of habour speedily enough to challenge Spanish incursions. I question that. They could hang on a mooring in the roads when an incursion looked probable. Give it a three month trial at least. All being held back by the limp wristed F&CO. In my opinion the present arrangements are a Joke. Besides a Gibraltar guard ship could range far and wide both in the Mediterranean and out to the Azores, Canaries, etc. It could watch the Russians going in and out of Ceuta or the Med… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest

These are builder trials before acceptance.

Note the ship wearing the red ensign. (It used to blue at one time but the rules were changed and I can’t remember why……..)

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

….. And then someone from the Navy goes round the ship with a scraper to see how many rivets have been glued on!

Best check the deck gun hasn’t been glued on too while their at it….

geoff
Guest
geoff

Hi Steve. It wears the Red Ensign while in civilian hands-in this case the builders. Once it is passed into the hands of any Government agency and prior to Commissioning into the RN, it would wear the Blue Ensign until accepted in to the fleet whereafter the White is hoisted.
I think that is the sequence

andy reeves
Guest

THE COLOURS RAN IN THE WASH

Lusty
Guest

What we’re receiving here is five very capable additions to the fleet. With the sensible retention of the three batch one vessels which I believe will be in part manned by the RNR on their respective rivers, the OPV fleet is essentially being doubled. The critical thing about these ships and the proposed T31 is that they can be utilised to free up T45 and T26 hulls, and allow them to focus on more pressing tasks – such as protecting the carriers, among others. Utilising a stand-alone T45 on drugs patrol in the Gulf will (hopefully) become a thing of… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest

We have a capability gap between the Border Agency cutters and the FPS OPV’s. We need four or so 760 – 1000 tonners capable of 25kts……..

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

“The critical thing about these ships and the proposed T31 is that they can be utilised to free up T45 and T26 hulls, and allow them to focus on more pressing tasks – such as protecting the carriers, among others. Utilising a stand-alone T45 on drugs patrol in the Gulf will (hopefully) become a thing of the past. ” Thank you Lusty. Bang on in my opinion. In my opinion for these constabulary tasks these B2 might undertake a hanger, heli, UAV, RIB and det of RM are sufficient. As we only have 28 HMA2 the heli is probably a… Read more »

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

If they were sensibly uparmed as you describe, they could be used as Strike Fleet Tenders.
This would mean at least guard ship duties and patrolling the anchorage ahead of the arrival of the carrier and running despatches acting as GP dogsbody and waystation for helicopters.
However for this they would need some semi serious bolt-ons. Oh dear!
I hope the RN will put serious money into developing and buying bolt on VDSonar and Sea Ceptor; Imho these are things that would add value out of all proportion to their cost.

Tom
Guest
Tom

The reason they cost so much was to keep the yard busy , they where built at a slow pace.
All this was political Gordon Brown wanted to keep the labour vote in Glasgow to see off the SNP challenge, the navy never wanted them .

Steve Taylor
Guest

This^

Despite the Fisheries Protection Squadron being the oldest ‘formation’ in the RN they would happily dump it if they could…….

HF
Guest

‘All this was political Gordon Brown wanted to keep the labour vote in Glasgow to see off the SNP challenge’

If so I don’t think it worked. Mind you the new carriers were said by the Tories to be a bribe to GB’s constituents – they ignored the fact that major construction was across five ship yards in the UK. Now, of course, they bang on about them and what a good idea they were, as if it was theirs. Meanwhile they slash all branches of the forces.

HF
Guest

‘the navy never wanted them’, ‘RN they would happily dump it’

Small ships seem to be regarded as a waste of resources in the RN.

Lusty
Guest

Well aware of that.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Tom – Gordon Brown was out of office when these Ships were ordered.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It’s more because with a sovereign capability if you don’t use it you loose it. until we get to a steady point in complex warship building, without the balancing the books every year mentality that causes delays, we will always get these fill in orders.

HF
Guest

‘Utilising a stand-alone T45 on drugs patrol in the Gulf will (hopefully) become a thing of the past. Of course, they perform a wide body of other tasks whilst on deployment, but i think in this instance, it can be acknowledged as a wasted asset’

Hell of a waste of a very capable ship.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Good post Lusty

AV
Guest
AV

Spot on Lusty.

andy reeves
Guest

the new sigma corvette th 10514, is almost the same size as a b2 river, yet, comes fitted with a 76mm gun two triple tube torpedo launchers,exocet, two quad missile launchers

Mr Bell
Guest

Alex any ship acting as guards hip will need to be a fully capable warship. Have you seen the Spanish vessels undertaking incursions into Gibraltar territorial waters? They are Corvettes or light frigates. So either the UK faces up to these ships with capable warships or as some on this website state simply send out a few rubber dinghies to harass the beast and show Spain that we care not what you do, “make a move we dare you Spain” and it will end badly for you. Great allies we have there, very reliable, supportive friends. The kind of people… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

We are not in conflict with Spain and nor will we. Their incursions are for their own political arena, allowing their right wingers bragging rights. Putting ‘up-armed’ anything in Gib would be a needless escalation. If they want to be idiots then let them, we have other places that need the Batch 2 Rivers and T31s. In the meantime we should just ignore the silly element of the Spanish navy and politics.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Agree. Pointless escalation.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

We did. It keeps cropping up.

HF
Guest

Well said

Steve Taylor
Guest

Those Spanish ships are leaving port to go elsewhere. It is like a neighbour cutting across the end of your drive when going to the supermarket. LOOK AT A MAP OF GIBRALTAR.

andy reeves
Guest

the archers, are an expensive underused, profile less asset, i’d go for a drilled squadron of them with the 20mm canon they were design to carry used as a bolster to the gib squadron.

Steve Taylor
Guest

I wouldn’t want to draw up the ROE for the use of a 5.56mm rifle in those crowded waters never mind a 20mm canon.

andy reeves
Guest

what about getting more use from the ‘fanny boats'(archer class)

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Base the whole URNU out there.

Expand the swarm concept and use them en masse!

Alex T
Guest
Alex T

Thanks Mr Bell.
Some here have suggested that another idea would be to base 1-2 fully armed Apache helos to Gib. What do you think?
Absolutely agree with your comments about Spain!
I’m also beginning to wonder whether, in light the Le Petit Micron’s unhelpful if not downright hostile utterances, we shouldn’t be thinking about pulling out of the two 2010 Anglo-French Lancaster House defence treaties.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

What would they do? Mob the Spanish vessels by hovering over or in front of them? Fire rockets into the surf? I would not want to be one of the pilots. Sounds dangerous for the helicopter.

Let the Spanish play their silly games, or play silly games back.

But do not escalate.

andy reeves
Guest

i’d like to see the union flag beamed onto the face of the rock as they do on gibraltar day.or better still two fingers

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Brilliant.

andy reeves
Guest

base two t31’s if they ever actually happen on which ,i have my doubts

andy reeves
Guest

land ceptor at the top of the rock, a couple of typhoons and an f 35, maybe even a challenger tank at the border gate. a quick look at the specs for the sigma 10514,(wiki it), shows what can be done to a platform almost identical in size to a b2 river i.e. 76mm oto melara twin triple asw torpedo launchers,two quad anti air missile launchers, add a containerised towed array and designate them corvettes or, light frigates?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

LOL. Classic.

CH2 at the border! Fully armed of course. Is its gun facing into Spain or in the air?

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

There are a couple of newish 40mm mounts that could be fitted to batch 2 Rivers.
Bofors has just launched a lighter, cheaper 40/70 remote mount, that makes minimum demands on the ship.
The other is the Thales navalised Jaguar 40mm CT remote mount, that does not make any more demands on the ship than a 20mm Phalanx.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

LMM launchers on the Sigma mount for the 30mm would give a capability against helicopters and would outrange any pirates with Javelin I think.

andy reeves
Guest

the germans fit searam on the bridge roof of their corvettes! they’d fit on a river roof.

Simon
Guest
Simon

I can’t help but think that the equivalent is either HTMS Krabi or…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteoro-class_offshore_patrol_vessel

…94m AND a hangar for a 10 tonner!

However, we all know why the R2s don’t have larger weapons or a Wildcat hangar. T31 encroachment. ‘Tis such a shame we have to play this crappy political game just because of crappy politicians who have no idea (or can’t read history books).

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

The 31s werent even on the table when these OPVs started being built, thd 31s still aren’t on the table.

Simon
Guest
Simon

True, I only used T31 to mean T23 GP replacement.

i.e. The 13 x T23s would have been replaced by the 8 x T26 ASW and the 5 x “up armed” River Batch 2s (inc Tamar and Spey). Therefore the RN /had/ to make sure the new Rivers did not look in the faintest way like a frigate or corvette. So no hangar, no main gun, no 3d radar, etc.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Also lets not forget they are just OPVs. Our ancestors never put 15″ guns on destroyers and we shouldn’t “up gun” the OPV fleet. They should be the lower end of a balanced fleet. I understand the desire to “up gun” but right now that sort of thinking should be saved for the type 31.

andy reeves
Guest

i doubt they’ll ever be built.

Steve Taylor
Guest

No. Another T26 or something like the Hollands. They could build 3 cheap frigates for the budget but it isn’t worth it. I think the Danish design will be too expensive and the stretched corvette not enough ship. Alternatively they could be more specific with the requirement and tailor a capability to fit. Say they are going to concentrate on the Gulf and the Gulf alone. Personally I see a bodge up. We will end up with 3 under armed somethings which are neither use nor ornament…….

andy reeves
Guest

have a look at the similarities between a batch 2 river and the sigma 10514. THAT is what our rivers capabilities should be.

Nick C
Guest
Nick C

I’ve just looked at the Wikipedia entry that Simon highlighted. Those Spanish ships are 2,800 tons, or very nearly the same size as 1960’s/1970’s Leander frigate. And there was a lot more bang for the tonnage with one of them. I seem to remember 550 rounds of HE in the shell room, plus chaff and star shell, plus everything else. Good ships.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Good to hear. Anyone have news on HMS Forth? Post Brexit we will likely keep the Batch 1 Rivers as UK fisheries vessels while the the River 2s will helo lilypad capability will be forward deployed for constabulary work in the Falklands, the Caribbean and off Somalia and as UK fleet response. This will free the T31 for forward deployed ‘diplomatic’ assignments and T26 for task force / ASW duties. Global Britain here we come 🙂

Lusty
Guest

Defects all worked out, now preparing for sea trials /FOST before deploying to the Falklands by the end of the year to relieve HMS Clyde.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Thanks for that Lusty-that was to be my next question. As you know Forth was Commissioned into service in April last year and a few weeks later at the beginning of May taken back by Bae for rectification works which were to take approximately three months. Ten months later and she has still not returned to service. Btw-agree they are great little ships that will free up top end assets for use elsewhere-never made sense to have a T45 chasing dhows off Somalia or nabbing bags of Cocaine in the Caribbean

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

I think so ppl are getting mixed up with petrol boats and heavy duty fighting ships it’s a patrol boat and a very good one .

Steve Taylor
Guest

Shhhhhhh! I measuring up where to fit the D5’s and rail gun……….

Helions
Guest
Helions

One of these OPVs needs to be stationed at Gib to deal with this kind of NONSENSE. Hats off to the crew of HMS Saber for not backing down.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6757499/Royal-Navy-boat-face-massive-Spanish-warship-entered-British-waters-Gibraltar.html

Cheers!

captain P Wash.
Guest
captain P Wash.

“Massive Spanish Warship” LOL. Good old Mail.

andy reeves
Guest

lol mind you they couldn’t say massive british warship when all gib has is, a couple of very old sabres.

Steve Taylor
Guest

Again I ask what would an OPV do?

captain P Wash.
Guest
captain P Wash.

Exactly, What can they actually do ? I have to ask what these would have done in 82. And I question their actual purpose today apart from giving us the ability to be in more places. A couple of years back, we sent a River 1 to escort the Russians through the Channel. That got them really worried I bet !

Steve Taylor
Guest

Gibraltar’s waters are tiny and full of traffic. It would be like patrolling a supermarket car park in an articulated lorry. You can’t go loosing off rounds willy nilly. As I said above this is like a neighbour crossing the bottom of your drive.

It angers me as much as angers everybody else here. But some of what is said here is just plain daft.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

The RN is on the case. A proportionate and affordable upgrade to Sabre and Scimitar are in the works

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/tender-issued-for-new-fast-patrol-boats-for-gibraltar/

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Just re read that and had a lot of laughs doing so.

Some of the comments are hilarious.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Yeh, I’m with the poster who said we need a Zumwalt ?

T.S
Guest

Does anyone know what’s going on with the T31 tender? All gone very quiet. Would be nice to see some outlines of what the Atlas Electronic offering might include, can’t find anything on the net.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

A decision soon on who got the contract . But the facts are Russia doesn’t have a blue water fleet to threaten us . But still let’s get a decision on the T31 and start the building

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

And we won’t have any top end escorts to defend against what they do have and their subs as they are all trotting off as singletons around the world flag waving, catching pirates drug smugglers, and carrying out “Maritime Security Duties”

Hence the potential usefulness of the T31.

Ignoring the fact it has been born from the sheer costs of the T26 but that is typical of British built equipment, is it not?

These Rivers a case in point.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Having said that, the 45’s use Shaman and the Astute also has capability in this area, so I wonder how the intelligence side will be handled?

Could T31 get that sort of equipment?

andy reeves
Guest

t 31 isn’t going to happen, its all a media stunt.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

T 45 and asute are high end protection along with F35 on the carriers Apache and other choppers not to forget sea ceptor they couldn’t possibly be better protected .

captain P Wash.
Guest
captain P Wash.

P tattersall. Apart from their Subs.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

Russian subs are basically rust

andy reeves
Guest

the M.O.D are playing the usual smoke and mirrors game, remember the t26 specs and delay to actually start building? this looks like being the same kind of fiasco. i wonder how far the estimated build cost has changed since the competition tender was put out.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Got to go to Atlas….DUP Brexit votes for Belfast jobs ?

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

There are a lot of weapon upgrades that could be introduced rapidly in an emergency. Javelin, Starstreak, etc. These OPVs are fine for what they are meant to do. In a full-on war, they would (doubtless) be kept well out of the way – mobile refueling stations for helos only.

captain P Wash.
Guest
captain P Wash.

So, In the event of War, when we actually need Ships, These R1’s and R2’s will be Withdrawn from harms way.
Great, Good job we still have a few actual Warships left then !

Was It 1400 RN Ships in 1939 ?

Trevor
Guest

Just who are we going to go to war with?
China? Russia? Who else? And just who are we going to ally with? Last time I looked we were part of NATO. An obvious region we have an interest in is The Falklands, but it is defended by aircraft and a nuclear powered submarine.

The greatest weapon we have is Intelligence.

Helions
Guest
Helions

This is an interesting concept. The UK could probably benefit from some of these in a surveillance role.

https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2019/february/two-birds-one-stone-new-patrol-craft-and-unmanned-surface

Cheers!

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Interesting. Sentinal would be more suited to Gibraltar than a River 2, but still has a crew requirement of 20 versus the Scimitars 7. Something Austal sized, fast with a small cannon and a crew requirement of a dozen might be more affordable for the RN, and appropriate….just not in aluminium….or is that aluminum?

Steve Taylor
Guest

Unmanned anything just means the men needed to look after it are somewhere else in the support chain.

Policing requires wetware at the crisis point warfare doesn’t…….

Barry Larking
Guest

Bonus points for ‘whom’.

I wish Medway all the best.

Helions
Guest
Helions

True, but I was thinking more along the lines of Channel surveillance with unmanned systems to alert the manned vessels to respond. What I think the Gib squadron needs would be about the size of the USCG Fast Response Cutter discussed above in addition to small patrol craft. The FRC would be big enough to deal with situations involving Spanish warships or to respond in the Straits to other mssions.

Cheers!

Helions
Guest
Helions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinel-class_cutter

Didn’t appear, strange. but I’m in Hawaii right now and anything’s possible…

😀