Two of the new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built for the Royal Navy, hulls four and five, will be named HMS Tamar and HMS Spey.
While preparatory work on the two vessels has already started, the government is set to confirm the build contacts and the names of the vessels later today.
After earlier reports that work on hull four was due to begin in November, we reached out to BAE who earlier confirmed that “preparatory” work had started on the fourth River class vessel.
The two additional vessels, hulls four and five, were announced as part of the last Strategic Defence & Security Review.
The contract worth £287 million to build two more Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy safeguards hundreds of jobs.
The Offshore Patrol Vessels have been 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 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”.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
“This contract will deliver two more modern Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, for the Royal Navy and safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland.”
HMS Tamar and HMS Spey will be manufactured at the Govan shipyard before being floated to Scotstoun to be fitted out. They are expected to be delivered in 2019.