Production of the second of the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMS Medway, has started today at Govan in Glasgow.
The 90 metre OPV is based on a proven BAE Systems design which is already in service with the Brazilian Navy and Royal Thai Navy. BAE Systems have modified the design, ensuring it meets the requirements of the Royal Navy in support of UK interests both at home and abroad. The programme has however been the focus widespread concern at the significantly increased cost of the Royal Navy variant.
The vessels will include a modified flight deck capable of operating Merlin helicopters, larger stores and more accommodation for embarked troops. They will also be the first ships to be built with a BAE Systems designed, new operating system called ‘Shared Infrastructure’, which will be rolled out across the Royal Navy surface fleet over the next ten years. By replacing multiple large consoles dedicated to specific tasks with a single hardware solution, the amount of spares which are required to be carried on-board is reduced, significantly decreasing through-life costs.
The programme will sustain around 800 jobs on the Clyde and keep BAE yards ticking over over between work ending on new 70,600 tonne carrier HMS Prince of Wales and construction beginning on the first Type 26 frigates.
HMS Forth and her sisters will enter service from 2017.