Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Severn has returned to her homeport of Portsmouth for the last time, the vessel is due to be decommissioned at the end of the month.

In April this year in a written answer to a question raised by Sir Nicholas Soames, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence Harriet Baldwin stated Severn would be decommissioned on October the 27th 2017.

Severn recently sailed for a final visit to her affiliated town of Newport.

The vessel is being replaced by one of the new Batch 2 River class vessels being built on the Clyde.

The new Offshore Patrol Vessels were ordered to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigates begin construction. Critics, the UK Defence Journal included, have raised concerns that they’re severely overpriced and lack important features, such as a helicopter hangar that other, cheaper vessels of the same type have.

The names of hulls four and five came to light the morning before they were officially announced.

The Strategic Defence & Security Review states:

“We will buy two further new Offshore Patrol Vessels, increasing the Royal Navy’s ability to defend UK interests at home and abroad.”

The vessels will be used by the Royal Navy to undertake various tasks including border protection roles, including anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement.

The order and construction of the new OPV’s will help sustain hundreds of skilled jobs on the Clyde until the Type 26 build begins, ensuring that the yards remain viable.

The vessels were described at a Defence Select Committee meeting a vessels “the Royal Navy does not want or need”.

 

45 COMMENTS

  1. Surely with Brexit around the corner and the need to enforce our maritime EEZ, we need to retain the river class batch 1 vessels?
    seems madness to be getting rid of a perfectly good vessel that still has 10-15 years active service still left.
    Can these ships not be refitted as mine hunters as a drone mothership or some other worthwhile tasking?

  2. The RN just doesn’t have the manpower to do it. They are far too busy spending lots of money on shiny new ships which politicians can point at and say “see, we are investing money in BAES”. The new ships may be over priced but it is a good way of disguising state subsidies to a worldwide multinational company. I am sure Boeing et al are watching.
    Besides launching a new ship gives a nice photo op and keeps the Sec Def wife busy (nice hat though).
    Imagine if the money had been invested in manpower so we would have enough sailors to man the platforms we have? Unfortunately photo opportunities are limited for things like that.

    • Lee – you say “Imagine if the money had been invested in manpower”. I wonder if you could explain that more? I mean we have a continuous recruiting campaign and an internal policy to keep and reward long serving and skilled ranks. That, surely, is ‘investment in manpower’?

      Short of bringing back Press Gangs I am not sure how you would magically create hundreds of new sailors

      • Volunteers with no call-up, unlike reserves. Weekend sailors basically, but at least the skills are there in an emergency, as long as they volunteer for active duty.

    • Oh come on Boeing amongst other US companies receive massive subsidies filtered through defence work which are impossible to determine accurately, which is how they can get away with it. Not that anyone would dare confront the US government beyond pointing out the principle as Airbus has defensively when themselves accused of it by the US. Sadly Bombardier has no such power base to fight back against this hypocrisy.

  3. Commissioned in 2002, its just nuts. She only has a crew of 30 and no advanced systems so how much can it possibly cost to run a ship like this per year?

    We should be keeping all the River 1s, then perhaps slightly up arm the 2s so they can perform more of the tasks typically assigned to frigates.

    • I thought it was 2003. The US are keeping 1980s built horrendously expensive aircraft carriers in service well into the 2020s yet we can’t keep a simple 14 year old vessel in service and instead replacing it with something very similar and very costly. Yes I think we can see where all the money goes.

  4. Seems a shame when we need more hulls but seiing HMS Severn and replacing her with HMS Forth is the NSS in action so we had better get used to the idea. If she doesn’t go to the Border Force she will be a bargain for someone; Bangladesh?

  5. There is talk of the Irish putting in an order for two more opv’s but with three perfectly good Wave 1’s coming onto the used market fairly soon they’d be mad not to snap them up. They could get all three for half the price of one new build.

    • As stupid as it looks when HMS Scimitar chases off Spanish frigates, it probably only has a crew of 5. It hardly worth sending one of these vessels out of port every time the Spanish navy reads its map wrong.

  6. One less to maintain.

    Sadly the very type of vessel which should be retained. Carriers 1 v. rest of navy 0.

    Nevertheless, this marks just the beginning.

    • Hi TH

      I understand your point of view, though I disagree with it. But can you please just stop expressing your beliefs on every news item. It just leads to the same points being made on every article, and 90% of the comments in this blog just being rebuttals of your argument. This makes it very annoying for those who are just interested in the defence of our nation.

      If TH will not desist, can we all agree to at least stop responding, its a waste of time anyway, please just respect his opinion (difficult as that may be), and ignore him.

    • One of the world’s biggest economies. You simply have a chip on your shoulder about your own nations world standing preferring unilateral disarmament leaving the UK weak. Ain’t going to happen matey. Do carry in playing your spiteful games.

      • You have much to learn about financial realities and as you mature you will grow to value what your hard earned money and taxes are spent on.

        Britain must adapt to the fact that it is a medium sized European country.

        Thankfully, every government is having to recognise this with reductions.

        And they will continue until a sustainable military budget is achieved.

        Ocean, Bulwark, Albion, some minesweepers, OPVs all will go. The marines will be hugely diminished. The RFA cut and privatised. The army reduced to 50,000 with no MBTs. The airforce reduced to four fighter squadrons and more privatisation in support aircraft. Mass sales of military helicopters. Dispense with Devonport. Eventually, no at sea nuclear weapons.

        A sustainable navy will come into being of 8 to 12 frigates, 12 or so OPVs etc.

        This is reality and will happen. Get used to the idea.

        • Maybe they could start by reducing the welfare bill. Those that do not contribute to the economy should make some sacrifices as well.

        • TH: You say ‘OPV’s all will go’ then you say a navy of ‘8-12 Frigates and 12 OPV’s’ ? you appear to be advocating scrapping good assets and then re procuring replacements …where’s the considered strategy…where’s the prudent financial management. You are entitled to your views but at least be consistent

        • TH
          Iv called you names before and got told off by people for doing it as it brought me down to your level
          So i wont call you what i and others think you are
          But i bet there are loads of families and businesses in and around the Plymouth area that are calling you what i and others think you are
          Why close Devonport (which happens to be the biggest naval base in Europe)
          Why not one of the others

    • Define what you mean by militarism?
      If you can’t, don’t make the statement. Taxpayers pay for capability as defined by the MoD to satisfy government policy as enacted by parliament who represent the voter – or as you call them, the taxpayer.

      • Militarism can easily be defined. Google ‘Veterans for Peace UK’ and turn to the relevant page. There you will find ex servicemen explaining. Hope that helps.

  7. TH how much did the polit bureau pay you for these comments? I am sure you are Putin’s man in the UK.
    Hopefully you will get a knock on your door from the nice men in Mi5.
    utter Muppet!

    • I can assure you that MI5 would never call on me. Remember, it is not me cutting your defence budget, it is successive elected governments have to face reality. I can understand your feeling of frustration and impotence though. Meanwhile, all I have forecast will happen.

  8. Stupid. And if they kept her it means Fallon wouldn’t be “economical with the truth” when he says the navy is growing. Yes, “gun her up”, it’s a young hull still.

    What I don’t understand is why the UK is cutting down to 2 FPV, when Scotland has 3? We do have half the waters, so it would seem 3 for 3 would be more sensible. Actually I guess we have more than half the waters, and with Ireland having OPV with fisheries as one of their duties, and Holland on the other side, is the UK now going to shelter under their umbrella?

    Serious if somewhat cynical question!

      • Pretty sure it’s a private paper, the SNP plan was effecively in the white paper, and had to work around the problem of inherited share of assets, and balanceing that out afterwards.

        I’ve actually been accused of being a warmonger for laying out what could be done witihin an average defence budget for Scotland, using that paper and direct comparisons to Norway and Denmark with their higher GDP per capita, as well as my own preferences. “Better with a hospital ship”. Sure, give me the budget and you can have one. I’ll throw in the ability to create 540 tonnes of fresh water a day for free.

        My take is simple: give me a budget, tell me what Scotland’s role is likely to be in that big wide world, and I’ll try and spend it wisely from my armchair.

        What the UK’s role in that big wide world should be is another story, proportionately contributory would be my own opinion, with the 2 carriers a very major and advanced contribution.

        Ho hum.

  9. TH you are totally out of touch if you think UK and indeed European politicians are somehow facing up to financial reality. They are addicted to spending money (and wasting it) the country does not earn and playing around the edges of the defence budget is peanuts, compared to our yearly deficit and most on here now that. Hence many quite rightly express concern about treasury driven cuts that have no strategic vision, which weaken us and embolden our potential enemies. Don’t forget deterrence is much cheaper than fighting wars something that seems to escape you probably because you are just peddling some kind of anti military and anti UK bias.

      • TH the wars you mention were of our choice so deterrence has nothing to do with them but perhaps if we finished the job in 1991 and tried a bit harder to solve the Arab Israeli conflict then the two later disasters needn’t have happened. But for an island nation to support its scandanavian neighbours against a belligerent Russia and also to assist the five powers in se Asia that are facing a growing Chinese military would seem to be prudent deterrence demonstrating our resolve.

    • Disconcerting article if true. Losing the LPDs would be the loss of an entire capability. Losing two Type 23s before Type 31 are on service would be manageable if we keep HMS Tyne in addition to the 5 new River 2s which could handle our responsibilities in the N Caribbean, S Atlantic and Somalia, leaving 3 OPVs for UK fisheries.

    • Losing Albion and Bulwark might also be manageable if the proposed Mars FSS vessels are big enough and have a well deck. Cheap Korean build and smaller RFA crews would cut running costs. Albions command and control capability would be taken up by HMS QE. If we have to make cuts I would rather keep the RMs rather than the LPDs. But we would have lost the capability to take a defended beach.

      • Paul sorry but in the real world exposing a super carrier to support and offer c&c to amphibious ops is madness. We have also just spent £90m on refitting a modern LPD! There is no strategic argument that convinces me that the UK should suddenly give up having a small but highly effective amphibious capabity and lets stop pretending there could be an alternative.

        • Very well. If what you argue is true then the choice is starkly political. Our credibility with our US allies and our own ‘Hornblower’ historical identity rest on the RM.

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