The MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) department has issued the first expression of interest for the procurement of two new fast patrol launches for the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron.

The vessels will replace the existing vessels of the Scimitar class HM Ships Scimitar and Sabre and will take on their role protecting British Gibraltarian Territorial Waters and representing British interests in the wider western Mediterranean.

The design is required to meet speeds in excess of 35 knots, be capable of day/night operations and all weather operations up to Sea State 6-7. This represents a significant capability increase on the current vessels which have a stated top speed of 32 knots.

The Scimitar class vessels currently have the honour of being the smallest commissioned warships in the Royal Navy. Until last year they had been second to the survey launch HMS Gleaner but are now smaller than its replacement HMS Magpie.

The vessels have been in Gibraltar since 2003, having previously been used by the Royal Marines in Northern Ireland, and replaced vessels of the P2000 Archer class which were re-deployed to Cyprus.

Though it is a mainstay claim of social media commentators that the Royal Navy should deploy a larger vessel, such as a Batch 2 River class patrol boat, to deter Spanish incursions they are unsuited to the roll. In the confined space of Gibraltarian waters effectives incident response requires a vessel that can put to sea and be on scene in a matter of minutes.

DE&S has stated that it plans to prequalify between three and six shipyards during the tendering process. Bidders have been given until the end of July to complete and submit a pre-qualification questionnaire to assess their suitability before the next stage of the process.

Safehaven Marine, who designed and built the soon to be commissioned HMS Magpie are likely to be a contender with a variant of their Barracuda design. The design series comes in a variety of variants, will hull forms ranging from 13m to 19m, and could easily be adapted to meet the Royal Navy’s criteria.

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HF
Guest
HF

they are unsuited to the ‘roll’ – is that a pun ?

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

why not actually fit the 20mm cannon to half a dozen archers and finally let us see what these university ‘fanny’ boats can actually do as royal navy vessels?

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

i served on ‘sabre, back in the late 70’s on patrols around the northern ireland coast, they are very stable, well suited platforms fast, nimble well drilled, craft, and with the 20mm cannon mounted, pack a fair punch.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Good timing. It looks increasingly like a no deal BREXIT with UK crashing out of the beloved EU. We are going to need to safeguard the EEZ of Gibraltar. A flotilla of armed rapid response and fast attack boats is going to be needed.
Things are going to get a bit choppy.

Steve M
Guest
Steve M

They’ve also just added an interesting note about sorting Gibraltars post Brexit status out, at the behest of Spain…. potentially worrying.

Steven
Guest
Steven

The EU is a bigger threat to UK interests than Russia, it is openly attacking us.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

No it isn’t, only a truly fevered mind would think that!

The EU that we are still currently a member of is our closest economic partner and harming the UK is not a priority for the block.

Protecting the integrity of the EU, its institutions and the Single Market is a priority for the EU and no amount of Cakeism from the UK is going to change that!

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

About time the Gibraltar situation was addressed and put on a more stable footing as befits relations between two European, democratic NATO allies. It’ll require a bit of give and take from both sides which I’m sure is possible. It’s as much in Spain’s interest to come to a sensible agreement as UK’s. But so long as the rabid dog’s tail (Gibraltarians) is allowed to wag the dog it won’t happen. As for replacing the patrol boats, I’m sure it’s necessary but they don’t need to be heavily armed. We’ll never start shooting against a Spanish vessel, although something to… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’d re fortify the rock with rapier batteries, reopen rooke keep a squadron of typhoons there and a tank at the border post. and the spanish can ;do one’

ouvavou
Guest
ouvavou

Says any Russian troll or Donald Trump…..,

HF
Guest
HF

‘Says any Russian troll or Donald Trump…..,’

Amazes me that anyone would vote for leaving after Putin & Trump said they were in favour of it !

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

ffs keep trump out of it. its nothing to do with the americans, keep it that way.

Sheriff Jim Arpaio
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Sheriff Jim Arpaio

LOL… Red cheeks Englanders are really funny… even when they don’t booze too much…

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

thanks sherriff, now get back on your horse and ride out of town.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

even more excuse for looking after the rock’s security, i’d like to see the the next t26 or the first t31 named’ gibraltar(one in the eye for spain) and the next ‘stanley (for the argies).

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

I agree with you Andy. If it looks like the threatened deliberate dismembering of the UK, then it IS the threatened dismembering of the UK , and it is the threat of an act of war. All very Clausewitzian.
May, of course, needs to spell this out… oh I forgot. Well, are we really going to sit around and play patsy to these people?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

No chance of Spanish mitts on Gibraltar.
Fabian Picardo will not let that happen, and i am sure May wont either.
If they do then there will be a shit storm!

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

this about security for the rock. don’t go off subject its nothing to do with brexit. lets keep politics off this site.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

To do what exactly? Are you proposing to go to war with Spain?

If Spain wanted to push the issue over Gibraltar a few armed gunboats are hardly going to be an issue for the Spanish armed forces.

GET A GRIP!

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

If we wanted to push the issue of Gibraltar Spain wouldn’t stop us. GET A GRIP!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

allies? i wonder.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

fedaykin, at some stage push will come to shove? the spanish signed the treaty of utrecht without reading the small print. it shows the word of the spanish is not worth the paper its written on OK?fedaykin take your tablets and calm down.

Nick Tutill
Guest
Nick Tutill

Sea mines are cheaper and more effective

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

and cheaper

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

?

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

8 or 9 archers with their designed for, 20mm fitted.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

a weaponized(corvette, o.p.v based at gib would be very welcome there. the mass reduction in R.N ships pulling into gib has had a real effect on the rock economy.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Safehaven marine’s Barracuda looks like the perfect fit for the job.
https://www.safehavenmarine.com/barracuda

Jaralodo
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Jaralodo

What about the MK VI patrol boat? It is slightly larger and can deploy RHIBs for boarding parties. Also has a much greater range, not that would factor around Gibraltar, but could factor in if redeployed elsewhere.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

yes and more able to operate on deep water than the archers and sabre

Evan P
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Evan P

It certainly looks the part.

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

Love the look of that.

Reminds me of 007’s boat in the World is not enough that he used on the Thames.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

SBS already have something similar.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

sbs used scimitar and sabre during the troubles’

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Did they?

Good stuff. They were not the boats I mean though.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

sneaking up and down river estuaries to drop off marines or special forces in the dark was exciting stuff apart from when we passed a waterside pub and had to go silent, using the good old oars!

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

Sea state 6 is 20ft waves and 7 is 30ft waves. Probably looking at a 30-35m boat at least.

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

Can it stand up to 20 to 30 ft waves? I very much doubt it.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris J) Would something like the CB90 fit the role? Not sure what sea states they can operate in…

Steve
Guest
Steve

Whilst i don’t think there is any serious risk of spain invading Gib, it will be interesting to see if their sillness picks up when the EU is not there to stop them. The main problem will be the border and them putting excessive checks in place to try and force a view in Gib that maybe being part of Spain would be to their benefit. No amount of boats etc will stop this and we can’t even strong arm Spain because we have no interest in going to war with them and they know it, and we can target… Read more »

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

it would do more damage to them if the brits stop holidaying in spain.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

they’d only cross the border into gib for the cheap ciggies!!

Andrew Crisp
Guest
Andrew Crisp

Just remember Spain has a rather large tourism dependency and we make up a fair chunk of that. They start kicking off big style and I think us brits will vote with our feet about holiday destinations.

Sheriff Jim Arpaio
Guest
Sheriff Jim Arpaio

As far as I know the Spanish tourist sector accounts for 12% / 13% of their GNP, while the British tourist sector represents about 9% of the UK’s GNP… so not such a big difference actually… There are plenty of Spaniards that go to Britain for holidays too, and they also will vote with their feet about holiday destinations…. Delusional Victorianism does not count in the real world, I’m afraid.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

if the thousand or so spanish, working on the rock deserted gib, then its whole economy would collapse.

Andrew Crisp
Guest
Andrew Crisp

It also never ceases to amaze me why we don’t point out their shear hypocracy with Spanish Morocco!

Chris
Guest
Chris

We do, but “that’s different” apparently…

(Chris J)

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

and assistance to other latino nations, including the argies.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Would not the P2000 Archer class suffice if fitted with a 20mm cannon? A small but fast squadron of them?

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

Possible if they changed out the engine, the hull is capable of 45kn but can only make 25kn because of the installed engine. BAE Systems own the rights to the design now, frankly I am sceptical they would want to bid on such a small contract when they would be competing with other more modern off the shelf solutions. No need for a 20mm by the by, a GPMG is more than adequate for its intended role. They are not going to get into high sea battles with the Armada Española or Guardia Civil despite what some of the more… Read more »

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

I think we should be at least matching the armament on the Spanish ships habitually encroaching, to demonstrate our resolve & give our boats a chance if things got out of hand. Though dismisssing it as a nuisance & downplaying it is another possible strategy.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

25 knots? where did that nonsense come from? the only problem they have is age.

M. Murphy
Guest
M. Murphy

Safe boats International Mark VI Patrol Boat would be a great option…..

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Get Harpoon on them at once!!!

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

and a flight deck?

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

And make them kamikaze and put half of the contributors to this piece as the pilots so that they can defend their beloved Gibraltar against those dastardly Spanish to the end.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

LOL. You do know I was being tongue in cheek with Harpoon don’t you Richard? 😉

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Of course! And so was Andy. ?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

if it will get me a break from the wife, sign me up.

Paul
Guest
Paul

We’re not preparing for invasion but surely we need to be ready for it, at least in-part. Gib, in general, could never defend itself.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

No it couldn’t but the Gib regiment would make life very difficult for anyone who did.
The Gib Regt are probably the worlds best exponents of tunnel fighting and there are lots and lots of tunnels in Gib.
Should you ever get the chance to visit the “not open to the public ” tunnels its a real eye opener.
Then you will understand where all the rubble came from to build the airport runway out into the sea…

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

If Spain decided to roll the tanks through the border the Gib regiment would surrender pure and simple, to engage in combat would be utter insanity in the face of vastly superior firepower.

I wish this Jingoistic nonsense would go away! I swear some commentators here actively want war with Spain!

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

We would then destroy their tanks with the R.A.F. if they decided to take Gibraltar by force.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

let loose the rock apes of war!

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I certainly don’t want a war with Spain, but if they decided to take Gibraltar by force we would destroy them. For them to engage in combat with us would be utter insanity in the face of vastly superior firepower.

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Which is why it would never happen! Honestly, UK go to war with Spain??? You’re all mad… Totally off your rockers.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Fedaykin I agree that talk of armed conflict with Spain is pretty silly to be fair, there will be no invasion of Gibraltar of any kind it’s not even in the back of Spanish minds. But I do have to disagree with you fully on this.. “If Spain decided to roll the tanks through the border the Gib regiment would surrender pure and simple, to engage in combat would be utter insanity in the face of vastly superior firepower.” If you think armed conflict is as black and white as that then every history book needs to be rewritten, the… Read more »

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

Frankly you are deluded if you think that! Spain could take Gibraltar by force easily and they would hardly need a build up. If the Gib regiment wanted to lock themselves into the tunnels and starve for a while I doubt the Spanish army would be that bothered.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

agreed good points

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Hardly need a build up? So they are going to invade and occupy a territory that has a British Army base, international airport and 35 000 people that don’t want anything to do with them with what exactly? A few soldiers sat on top of a tank? I think you’re the one that’s deluded you’re talking complete nonsense. Spain has no major assets in the south, hardly anything around Cadis and nothing in La Linea, a single tank heading south in that area would stand out like a sore thumb. So yes they would be in the tunnels, and the… Read more »

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

I suggest you look at a map and where the airport is you crazy Jingoistic idiot! FYI the base is on the map as well. The Spanish would just drive a few trucks onto the runway to close it and then blockade the harbour. It would take little effort… This isn’t some boys own adventure in the Commando comic, the RAF is not going to be having dog fights with the Spanish airforce over the rock and Royal Navy task forces are not going to be sailing to save the day. Spain has an excellent motorway network they could have… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

CALM DOWN FED.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’d recommend going to the rock for a seven day break to anyone, the preserved history there is amazing

Sheriff Jim Arpaio
Guest
Sheriff Jim Arpaio

LOL… How sweet… ha, ha… really, red cheeks Englanders are really funny… Invading Spain??? ROLF… With what? Spain does not force the situation and recuperate the rock due to international politics, mainly.
If they wanted to, they could take Gibraltar in some hours with today’s weaponry. We are not in the XVIII century with cannons, sabres and Musketoons any-more.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

wars are not for joking about, i was in the falklands.(h.ms antrim)it wasn’t nice, and certainly not funny

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

with the political commitment the rock fitted with modern defence systems would easily be defendable.against ANYONE

Sheriff Jim Arpaio
Guest
Sheriff Jim Arpaio

Funny comments here, really… Red cheeks Englanders are really funny… LOL… How sweet they are… ha, ha… Sending vessels?… Invading Spain??? ROLF… With what? Spain does not force the situation and recuperate the rock due to international politics, mainly.
If they wanted to, they could take Gibraltar in some hours with today’s weaponry. We are not in the XVIII century with cannons, sabres and Musketoons anymore.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

but sabre rattling is all your sad little relic of a once powerful nation, now at the level of cyprus

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

back on your horse amigo, your beans are burning

Jim Nicholson
Guest
Jim Nicholson

Why not use the brave class of fpb from the 1970s as a template for the new Gibraltar patrol boats as they had speed, maneuverability and teeth ( 40mm gun and 21inch torpedo tubes)

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

ho hum another day without t31 news.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I never get the worry over Spanish ships transgressing onto Gibraltar waters. Let them! It changes nothing. It is sabre rattling. We chase them off. Later it happens again. Repeat. They need to be seen to be doing something and the UK is seen to be responding. It is proportionate. Spain will not attack a fellow NATO member and nor will we. However, that does not mean we should not match whatever the Spanish are playing with or ignore the terrorist threat to shipping. Gibraltar is far too important as a strategic location monitoring North Africa, and ships and cables… Read more »

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Totally agree

Ronald
Guest
Ronald

I served on the P2000 HMS Archer when it was based in Dundee with the RNR a nice little boat that with the 20mm could cause problems. However, possibly it is time to reintroduce for Gib, Cyprus and the English Chanel a proper missile attack boat. With a 40mm gun, two GPMGs, 4 Harpoons and a small six launcher Sea Ceptor launcher with a speed of 40 knots and a seven day at sea time. There should be enough to form squadrons so not only would they replace the Gib squadron but the complete P2000 class as well with a… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

Although it is obviously important to dissuade Spain, I would have thought one of the main reason for these boats would be anti-terrorism especially protection on rn vessels from fast boats. Hence the speed requirements but this could also have other requirements such as the ability to intercept and board. The skjold class are full on combatants and whilst I think these are fantastic and see a role in the littoral perhaps procured to give Close support to Royal Marines in wartime/protect the beech , they are likely to be well outside the range of a pb cost and surely… Read more »