A new Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel has been named at a shipyard on the Clyde in Glasgow today.
The second of the Royal Navy’s new OPVs, HMS Medway is the tenth vessel to bear the name since the 1690s.
Lady Fallon broke a bottle of gin on the bow in honour of the Chatham dockyard, where the gin was distilled.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“This year we have already named our second aircraft carrier, two Type 26 frigates and the first in the Offshore Patrol Vessel class. It is a privilege to see yet another ship named for the growing Royal Navy. Named after Kent’s main river, my family has taken a particular interest in HMS Medway over the course of its construction and this is a proud day for all involved.
From counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling to securing the UK’s borders, HMS Medway will help keep Britain safe.”
The 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 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 90-metre ship is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2019 and will go on to deploy across the globe on counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations.
All five of the new Batch 2 River class OPVs are expected to be in service before the end of 2020, with the first of class, HMS Forth, currently on sea trials.
The Government say that the OPV programme is sustaining around 800 jobs on the Clyde at BAE Systems and is maintaining the vital skills needed to build the Type 26s.
HMS Medway is officially affiliated with the Medway district through an association with Medway Council.
Leader of Medway Council, Councillor Allan Jarrett said:
“It is an honour that the vessel has been named after Medway, an area which has a rich naval heritage. Earlier this year we commemorated a significant event in naval history which took place 350 years ago on the River Medway. The Dutch Raid resulted in financial investment in the English naval fleet, leading to the Royal Navy becoming the most powerful in the world.
Today we celebrate a new vessel being added to the fleet to help protect UK waters and we would be pleased to invite HMS Medway to visit us on the River Medway soon.”
Sir Simon Bollom, Chief of Materiel (Ships) for Defence Equipment and Support, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) procurement organisation for the Ministry of Defence, said:
“The naming of HMS Medway is a proud moment for the Royal Navy, supported by DE&S, and our Industry partners and is a significant milestone in the delivery of this world-class fleet of five new warships.
I look forward not only to the deliveries of the final three OPVs, but continued good progress on the Type 26 programme which the OPV programme has enabled through the sustainment of jobs and skills.”