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


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.”


    • Maybe. But swap the 30mm for a 57mm and the crane for hanger and the treasury would call them frigates and there goes your Type 31 program. As it is, given the gov deal with BAE to pay them something each year whatever I think the RN has made a virtue out of necessity. Calling them Rivers is disingenuous. They are a completely different ship to River batch 1. If you compare their range, top speed, endurance, internal armour, combat management system, comms, internal compartmens, large Merlin helo deck, miniguns and troop accomodation / insertion capability with say a Spanish BAM I would say that whereas the BAM is an OPV the River 2 is really a small warship.

  1. I want to slap Michael Fallon every time he harps on about the “growing Royal Navy” which will most likely shrink between 2020 and 2025. It’s almost as though he believes it’s growing himself.

  2. Read somewhere once before that at least some of these will be sold off at some point as the RN never wanted them to begin with and needs the manpower elsewhere.

    How can Fallon say the RN is growing with a straight face? HMS Ocean – sold to Brazil for pennies; two minehunters – Gone; HMS Bulwark/Albion – Gone (if the rumours are true) and you can through in RFA Diligence – Gone. All these valuable assets gone with NO replacements.

    Depressing reading……

    • Actually none of those ships have ‘gone’ at all. You ‘throw in’ rumour as fact which is a bit disingenuous. I would rather have a Defence Secretary talking up the Navy (and the other Forces) than one who doesn’t.
      We can all be expert at tearing apart a politician’s terminology but from where I am sat I doubt there has been a time when so many new RN and RFA ships have been ordered / built / delivered etc. We are still delivering our fleet of 7 new Astute subs, 4 new Tide Class tankers, these 5 new OPVs and of course 2 new carriers. Work has started on the 4 Dreadnought Trident subs and 8 new Type 26 frigates. Type 31e is now up for contract . Plus Albion & Bulwark, Type 23s and Type 45s getting refurbishments.

      Not sure I see too many negatives there apart from the never ending cry for ‘more’.

  3. Remember those talking Action Man figures from the 70s? I had one myself. Pull the string and he would say one of a number of short phrases. Every time Fallon speaks he so reminds me of a talking Action Man with his stock phrases: £178bn equipment budget…growing Royal Navy…rising defence budget. Erm…my Action Man made more sense. I hope Lady Fallon gives him a good talking to and sends him to bed without any supper.

  4. They should have kept the other offshore ships for border control.These ships could have been used for Gibraltar,Falklands,BVI area and together with small RN crew having Marines on board.

  5. These ships are over priced and could have been obtained for far less. These are the very vessels the future navy requires, more of them to replace outlandish attempts to stay up with the USA, France etc. These, better priced and perhaps equipped, are more relevant than aircraft carriers, destroyers, and other over priced vessels. Appledore Shipbuilders construct excellent ships for Eire and others. High spec and better value.

    • Usa and France also in debt. Apparently it’s ok for them to have armed forces but not the UK. That chips getting bigger.

      • That’s up to the governments of those countries. We should not be in any form of arms race with anyone, least of all them. You will find out these things as you grow up and find out the value of hard earned money and easily spent taxes.

        • Funny because every person who reads this website questions your grasp reality TH. But it’s every else who’s wrong isn’t it?

        • TH – Now I don’t know how old you are or what experiences of the military let alone life you have had. But to respond to criticism by name calling and telling people to ‘grow up’ adds nothing to your argument. To which you are entitled but with which we (who maybe DO have more experience of life and the military) also have the right to criticise. As we seem to be able to do on every occasion.
          I am 70, worked hard for 52 years without raiding fellow taxpayers for handouts. So possibly my life experience and therefore knowledge is better than your good self.

          So I actually disagree strenuously with your arguments and find your abuse of others offensive. Now tell me to ‘grow up’…

  6. Agreed that they are hugely overpriced and that we need more. Don’t agree that they should be at the expense of higher end ships. OPVs are good for their intended role but not so hot at tracking SSNs or protecting our trading routes should the need arise.

    How many ships of this type would you like us to have? I assume your suggestion means that we need more aircraft for the RAF, inc MPAs and fast jets both with anti ship missiles? That seems the only way we could dispense with the higher end ships and still protect our waters.

      • I don’t know how many but I remind you that we are not at war nor ever likely to need to protect trading routes again. That was for the past. Future security threats will come in other ways. And if perchance a threat did occur to trading routes, the navy that even exists now could not defend them.

        • TH. having spent the last 20 tears in various locations East of Aden I can tell you that the world is not nice. is full of despots who are not constrained by morality but by the concept that others better equipped and better trained are just around the corner. We don’t need to be as strong as the USA or stronger than france. …but by being stronger than most.we are less likely to get into conflict. Be equal or weaker than the despots and the world will become very difficult for the likes of Britain, France and Australia. etc.

          • Yes, I have travelled the world as well. And dealt with people from all over. But I live and pay taxes here, a lot of them, and I realise that current levels of expenditure are unsustainable.

        • War is inevitable they always happen no matter how or in why clime and place. Once again TH you assume another nation like the US or considering your proposed level of force reduction France. Will protect you for FREE. News flash the United States has not done anything for free in since the Founding. France has NEVER done anything that did not benefit her specifically since Capet planted his rump on the throne in 987, changing to a republic did not change that attitude in the slightest.

          The RN that exists now not having enough ships or weapons to defeat the enemy. THAT would be the combined fault of the pacifists, the welfare rats, and selfish penny pinching parasites like you. Also I just love the level of clairvoyant predictions about security threats. Never mind the analysis of every Chief of the General staff in NATO every British military academy. All the US military academies plus the Command and General Staff school (War college). But of course greedy morons like you know better.

          • Far from being a greedy moron, I pay all my taxes without exception. Accordingly, I have a right to express how they should be spent. As for me being a moron, well take a look at your own abilities of expression.

          • My ability of expression? It is called an IPhone and auto correct numb****.
            Paying taxes to avoid going to the Penitentiary in order to avoid the amours attention of your cell mate is not an achievement. Merely an act self preservation.
            Only a truly vapid person would think the United States or any Nation with an ounce of self respect and duty to it’s votaries. Would under any circumstances protect you for free. They would if anything hold you in complete apathy at best or total contempt and hostility at worst.

        • We already are protecting trade routes off the horn of africa. If the usa, britain and france did not actively protect trade routes piracy would go through the roof.

        • It isn’t true that we are not at war. I think it was the Pope who said we are experiencing WW3: but it is a distributed conflict.
          The UK is a major player in the fight against Isil is Syria and Iraq where the RAF is making a significant amd valued contribution, flying out of Akrotiri.
          We have ground troops in several African countries acting in training and advisor roles in the fight against Islamic extremism.
          The RN contributes to antipiracy patrols off Somalia. And to cocaine smuggling patrols in the Caribbean.
          The RN base in Bahrain and its ability to host our carriers and mine sweepers are essential stabilising influences in the Gulf. Might I remind you that the majority of our natural gas is imported from Qatar and extracted from a field which also runs umder Iranian ground.
          We might not be in a ‘traditional’ war but UK forces are preventing one and are absolutely protecting our national interest on a daily basis.

          • The UK is not at war. The overseas bombing is unsustainable. There are no ‘our’ carriers in Bahrain. The minesweeper fleet is being substantially reduced.

            It’s called facing reality.

          • I guess the periodic Flag draped coffins are just dismissed by you. Well I have heard pacifism requires self-deception thanks for proving it.

          • So what qualifications do you have to make the government consider your suggestions. Being a tax payer only, is not one of them. There are people out there that have a lot more information in regards to the threats posed that the UK has to respond to. I think that you really need to sit down and justify your comments more fully so that others can see you point of view and perspective. By the way, I am not a young man.

    • No hanger means you can’t maintain a helo. But they can land them, unload casualities ( they have medicsl facilties), refuel and re-arm them ( River 2 has an armoured magazine) and load them with assault troops; they can carry up to 50 troops according to wiki. The ability to refuel a Merlin, a speed of 24 knots and a range of over 5000 miles means they can be part of the outer AEW screen of a task force, significantly extending Crowsnest coverage. The 16 tonne crane and the hanger are trade offs. The crane and large deck for comtainers makes the ship very flexible in humanitarian relief situations. And it can also launch Arcims USV for mine clearance. Considered in the round they are pretty handy ships.

  7. One day WW3 will come with people like trump , Putin and the young idiot in North Korea. At present the Royal Navy is woefully under strength, ships are far to complex and take to long to build , what would happen in the event of war, how long could we rebuild loses. At the present 19 ships could all be sunk in one afternoon ! . Politician’s of all parties are to blame for the past 50years of cock ups made by people who really have no idea about defence of this country.

    • No-one is arguing that we don’t have financial issues. Compromises may have to be made, and smarter ways of doing things. But that is not the same as throwing in the towel, which is how your posts come over. Assertive, self confident behaviour does pay, for individuals and for nations. And it is important to remember that in our current Brexit circumstances and particularly important in the case of the Royal Navy, which can trace its heritage back to King Alfred. This morning the Spanish government announced that post Brexit British expats will be welcome to continue to live in Spain regardless of the nature of any deal with the EU. Co-incidence? I don’t think so. Actually the border control games the RN plays with the Spanish and the proposal to forward base HMS QE in Gibraltar pay dividends. It’s about mutual respect. It always pays to assert your identity and the RN is part of our national identity. Other Euopean navies would think we were frankly barmy of we reduced our navy as you suggest to a token ‘force’ of parrol boats. Have a nice day!


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