Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the UKs Defence procurement organisation, pressed the button to cut the first sheet of steel for the HMS Spey at BAE Systems Govan shipyard on the Clyde today.
Like her four sister ships HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar, which are all either under construction or preparing for sea trials, HMS Spey will be built at Govan before she is transferred to the Scotstoun yard, where she will be fitted out for operations.
Work to build HMS Spey and the rest of the OPV fleet is sustaining 800 jobs and the vital skills needed to build the fleet of next-generation Type 26 Frigates, which will begin construction at Govan in the summer.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said:
The start of work on HMS Spey, the fifth Offshore Patrol Vessel, is another milestone in a significant programme of work which is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Scotland and the vital shipbuilding skills needed to build the Royal Navys new Type 26 Frigates.
The on-going successful delivery of these ships is a key element of the Governments ten-year, 178 billion equipment plan to provide the UKs armed forces with the kit they deserve.
HMS Spey, which will be 90 metres long and displace around 2,000 tonnes, is one of two ships being built under a 287 million agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and BAE Systems in December 2016. She is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019 and enter service by 2021.
She is expected to carry a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter, in support of counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations.
DE&S CEO Tony Douglas said:
The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme; todays steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too.
I am looking forward to continuing this long-standing and close relationship when we begin manufacturing for the Type 26 fleet later in the summer.
Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels have a maximum speed of 24 knots and can sail 5,500 nautical miles before having to resupply.