The fifth and final new patrol ship for the Royal Navy was recently formally named in Glasgow.

SPEY, the last of five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) designed and built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems, was named in front of gathered VIPs and employees at an official ceremony in Glasgow.

Construction and fitting out work is still ongoing on the vessel.

A render of the vessel.

In keeping with naval tradition, guests watched as Lady Johnstone, the ships sponsor, named the 2000 tonne vessel by releasing a bottle of special blend Spey whisky from Speyside Distillery that smashed against the ship’s hull.

HMS SPEY is the last in a class of five vessels that have been built in Glasgow.

With construction starting on the first ship in late 2014, these vessels have provided an important opportunity to maintain essential design, construction and systems integration skills, while introducing new processes and technologies that are already being used in the production of the UK’s Type 26 frigates.

David Shepherd, OPV Programme Director at BAE Systems said at the event:

“Today’s ceremony is a truly significant milestone for the River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel programme and builds on our proud heritage of British shipbuilding here in Glasgow. There has been fantastic momentum on this programme and the naming of HMS SPEY serves as a great reminder of the importance of the capability and skills of our employees who are working together with the Royal Navy and partners to deliver these important ships.”

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

“Our Offshore Patrol Vessels play a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting our domestic waters, and supporting maritime interests from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection. The naming of HMS SPEY is an exciting milestone for the OPV programme, demonstrating our commitment to UK shipyards while bolstering the Royal Navy’s capabilities.”

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Image via BAE Systems.

Constructing the vessels has directly supported 1,700 jobs north of the border and a further 2,300 jobs around the UK in the supply chain.

The Royal Navy say that the ship takes her name from Scotland’s third longest river, famed for its salmon and natural pearls – both reflected in the ship’s badge.

Image via BAE Systems.

Spey will be used for general patrol duties, counter-terrorism/anti-smuggling missions, provide disaster relief where needed, act as the UK’s eyes and ears on the high seas “and fly the flag for Britain’s global ambitions”, say the Ministry of Defence.

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Rob Collinson
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Rob Collinson

I know that may on here decry the latest River Class vessels. For whatever the reason they were constructed, they re cracking looking boats, and despite not having a hanger, I am sure they will be used very hard in their life-spans.

They are cracking looking boats and not insignificant in size in the ‘beefed up’ RN Fleet. I am sure many will enjoy serving in the cracking little boats.

Don’t knock them too much, as they will plug a gap in the scary new world we are embarking on in a few weeks time!

“God speed Spey (Mack Sicker)”

Steve Salt
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Steve Salt

Whole lot of cracking going on there !

Rob
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Rob

They may be cracking looking but the UK tax payer isn’t getting much bang for their buck. At 2000 tons they are nearly Leander Frigate in size but only with a 30mm and some GPMGs. I know they are constabulary ships but with so large a platform it is crazy that they aren’t really able to do much in full hostilities. They should have a main armament of a 40mm Bofors and developed the flight deck space to at least host UAV recce aircraft. They also have capacity to carry 50 troops but, outside the Falklands, what is the utility… Read more »

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

This is like saying an MoD Landy or pick-up needs a 120mm gun just in case…..even though it will never be used. The 50 troops business comes about as a result of the size of the ships and not really a design driver. I could think of a few reasons why being able to carry 50 passengers would be useful. Perhaps post October 31st we will need to carry spare bodies for boarding parties. Extra kit costs. Extra kit that will never be used. Even leaving space for it isn’t really useful because if there is a need for it… Read more »

Expat
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Expat

I think putting it another way is we should have paid less for these, for the price we should have got more. I don’t think we needed more as you say these are patrol ships. So we should have paid less. Ultimately I think the government recognised it was being ripped off and hence the T31 competition. BAe’s short term view has lead to the loss of its position as the UKs only warship builder and perhaps even as the supplier of RN CMS.

JohnG
Guest

Good Post Expat.
Rob Collins, no one here really “knocks” the boats as you repeatedly say, they simply point out that they were not very good value for money. A lot of people on here are very passionate about the royal navy and its equipment and want it to be the best that it can be. That said, the boat does look lovely, I am always heartened when we build boats in the UK. A lot more of them would be a fine thing.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

you might be heartened , but with the idle, slow, dismal rate that they are produced, for a few million more, the type 31 order could have been higher warships, not toy boats are what the nation needs not RIVERS. TELL ME WHAT DO THE ARCHERS DO? WHY IS THERE NOT A CALL FOR THEM TO GO?,THEY SHOULD BE DRILLED AND FITTED AS SQUADRONS, TO OPERATE FROM GIBRALTAR, OBAHRAIN, FORWARD BASED TO, IF NEEDED TO DETER THE IRANIAN BOATS

andy reeves
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andy reeves

the thai batch 2 river,HMTS KRABI HAS BEEN UPGRADED WITH A 76MM OTO MELARA GUN, AN EXTRA TWO 30MM OERLIKON CANNON AFT OF THE BRIDGE ON WHICH THE THAIS WANT TO FIT A MARTLeT TYPE SYSTEM.they are warships, not patrol boats.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

What I find is a bit of a coincidence with these ships, is that their WW2 frigate forebears were of a similar size (better armed mind). I think the ship’s hull has a lot of potential and that the current layout is seriously under used, especially when you look at the similar hulled Kareef ships. We have two different classes of mine countermeasures vessels, a mine hunter (Sandown’s) and mine sweepers (Hunt’s). These ships were first commissioned in the late 80’s and early 80’s respectively. So the Hunt class will be due replacement soon. To my mind the technology available… Read more »

Rob
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Rob

Davey I agree. I think you put the expertise and bones onto my idea that they could have been serious multi-mission ships that could do a variety of roles from Fishery protection to mine clearance and even offshore escort. When the Hunt’s and Sandown’s are replaced a multi-mission capable ship would seem the obvious choice (back to the Black Swan Sloop idea). A bit left side but the present Rivers could be fitted with a GMLRs on that flight deck to support the Boots ashore whilst carrying a Platoon for landing in their RIBs. I’m sure that could be done… Read more »

Dan
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Dan

Davey, if I remember correctly, the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) programme (which lead to the Type 26) also included plans for a separate class of vessels dubbed Mine Countermeasures, Hydrography and Patrol Capability (MHPC), which would have done pretty much what you suggest.

It seems that idea was dropped when the government decided it needed to order the Batch 2 Rivers to keep the Clyde shipyards busy.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

THE BATCH 2 RIVERS WERE GIVEN TO THE CLYDE YARDS AS A SAP TO THE s.n.p and the unions. the BAE blinkers have scuppered the navy as much as the treasury.

Andy P
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Andy P

Davey B, Maybe being picky but the Hunts are mine hunters that have the capability to sweep (or used to). The last RN sweepers were funnily enough the River class including the Spey (old boats me hearty). I wouldn’t get too bogged down with the tonnage and the potential to stick weapons all over it. The larger displacement gives better sea keeping abilities and the larger deck space for the parafin parrot. I agree proper hangering facilities was a missed trick but for hey ho, it is what it is. The more weapons you stick on a platform means more… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

the retrofit of a hangar , a 76mm gun, like the hmts krabi, should be part of the vessels future development.for most nations, corvettes are counted among their main fleet numbers, the u.k is too snobbish for that rivers upgrade to that is a well debated issue, but the t 31 cost makes the cost for a similar sized platform to be termed a patrol joke. the retained batch 1 rivers should be, as an experiment ‘kitted up, if only to show what can be done with the batch 2 ALSO, THEY ARE ALREADY BUILT.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

“the u.k is too snobbish for that rivers upgrade “. What a fantastic accusation Andy R. I can see the discussions in my mind… “What about sticking a 76 mil on the Rivers old bean….” “Absolutely not old chap, you know they’re made by the bally Italians and those chaps are beyond the pale !” “Oh, that’s a dashed pity, there’s a frightfully bright chap online who thinks they’d be bloody wizard on the Rivers…. ” “No, no, no, they’re made by those beastly Italians and you KNOW that they make rusty cars, they’re bloody foreign too, no, no, there’s… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

indubitably my dear watson! i

Glass Half Full
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Glass Half Full

It would be interesting to understand the operating costs of B2 versus T31 A140, because the latter was designed from the outset by the Danes to have very low manning and operating costs. A140 based MCM capability would provide far greater flexibility for the RN, fitted with mission module based MCM with UUV and USV when in MCM role, but leading to an increase in frigate numbers for other roles when not required for MCM. Having a new generation of MCMV that are largely fixed in that role seems too inflexible for today’s world. Upping the sensors and weapons fit… Read more »

Julian
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Julian

I believe the spaces either side of the crane (aft of the RIBS) are deliberately sized to take 2 standard 20′ ISO containers plus I think another 6 on the flight deck for a total capacity of 8 containers for stuff like humanitarian aid (it might be more than that on the flight deck). I’m pretty sure I saw a graphic for that somewhere a while ago. That total container capacity isn’t relevant to my point however, my point being that two containers can be secured either side of the crane with no encroachment on the flight deck and I… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

can a container fit on an archer? (the hooray henry’s ‘fanny boats’)

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Here’s a thought – seeing as the T31′ design won’t be needing the Recycled Artisan radars off the 5 GP T23’s how about using them on the B2 River’s ?.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The B1 Rivers are fantastic ships. I wish they had all been constructed with a flight deck, but heck.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

as test beds the batch 1’s could be altered to carry everything a ship of that size should be able to do,size isn’t everything i’ve often been told isn’t everything, but the ability of the platform is. i walked past the forth in portsmouth harbour and was blown away by the size of these alleged ‘patrol ships’patrol ships? in many countries they would be fitted say, with a 76mm gun, and called frigates, just as pakistan did with e 6 type 21’s they bought, they upgraded a few areas and designated them as destroyers!!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Andy – compare HMS Forth to the Italian Paolo Thaon De Revel – now that is a very large Patrol Ship.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

I think at least one ‘member’ will be aroused by those…..

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

shame the pictures don’t show the glue holding it together, neither do they explain why it took the clyde so long to build them. a real disgrace, produced from shipyards with the lowest production rate in the northern hemisphere

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Hi Andy Remember, for the early-build of OPV B2, the workforce on the Clyde was still busy with construction and assembly work at Govan and Rosyth of two 65,000 ton aircraft-carriers. By all accounts, they don’t seem to have done a bad job. No reports of glue being used! Back on the Clyde, production was later ramped-up, and from August 2017 – four OPVs were launched in 22 months. The ships were used to plug a gap in orders between the draw-down of carrier work – and completion of the T26 design/and belated ordering by the MoD. They also allowed… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’ll reserve my judgement until a t26 actually sails into pompey or guzz. till then i stick with opinion, that the clyde gets the work for political reasons and not the production performances.

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Andy, I don’t disagree that it’s partly about politics – but that’s the case for most defence deals. Incidentally, Barrow-in-Furness (Astute) or Warton (Typhoon) are hardly beacons of productivity. Scotland has lost a lot of industry in the last 40 years, but Scottish civil society (not the SNP) has been very vigorous in support of these yards, and indeed a very effective campaign was mounted to save the Govan shipyard from closure in 1999. Unfortunately, with the contraction of the Royal Navy, English yards have not had the same support – and I’ve been very sorry to read about recent… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the boaty mc boat face?!!

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

LOL – yes, all 15, 000 tonnes of it!

lee
Guest

My only comment would be can we have some more please, another three would increase our options and at 2000 tons thats equal to a world war 2 destroyer

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah and old offshore patrol boats used to only be a few hundred tonnes.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

and carried fishing nets

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yes. For now, being realistic, 6 Rover B2 and 6 T31 to do our constabulary, port visit, flag waving roles.

JohnG
Guest

Agreed Daniele, I’m still holding out hope for the 6 T31’s, we’ll see what the future brings!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i hope they’ll be at least a one for one replacement for the retiring t23’s.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’m sure they will Andy. For the 5 GP T23’s at least. It does not help the RN’s situation much as the 4 T22’s cut by the Tories and the 3 T23’s cut by Labour are not being addressed by just 5.

My concern is the T26 order for 8.

In my opinion it will be 6. Just like the T45.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Daniele – I’m still confident that all 8 T26″s will be built seeing as all of them have been named,I think a Government U-turn on that might be a bit too hard to deflect, but saying that negotiations are still ongoing for the second Batch.If the price is competitive it’s a no-brainer to me, but if the T31’s can indeed be built for the target price I would have thought some serious questions would be asked as to why the huge difference.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I hope I am wrong Paul. I really do.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

sell the archers use the godzillions of cashola to up the 31 order

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

shame the archers are not deep water operable, if they were, the should be tasked with the constabulary work and given to the hooray henry’s at universities to use as ‘fanny boats’ drill them into squadrons, put a 6 boat squadron at gibraltar,fitted with the 20mm’s they were designed to carry. and get them to do navy work, or just bin them and pay double the price to replace them, like we always do

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

let the university fanny boats do that drill them to work as squadrons either assisting the border service or put 6 at gibraltar to reduce the strain on the older gib boats.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

but not fitted, or equipped to be used as one

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

errrrrrrrrrrrrrr no more t31’s or best of all a couple more t45’s, but i now thats not going to happen

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

What an utter total irresponsible waste, there is no excuse for this, it’s is utterly beyond the pale…

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Blast no one took the bate and commented, bang goes my waste of good whisky joke….

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I must say I didn’t have a clue what you were on about Jonathan!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Lol I was doing a nasty troll impression hoping someone would bite and I could make a comic response about smashing that really expensive and lovely bottle of malt whisky against the side of a ship…which is by the way a sin against humanity.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

more political sin from the politicians to say that the navy is growing, even if it is with ships of the wrong type, unable to take any of the load the rest of the fleet is bearing

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

new subject but. could all the nuclear bits that glow in the dark,on the retired trafalgars and swiftsures be removed in a block and upgraded with necessary bits and recommission them as conventional ssk’s?

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

No.