Home Europe Royal Navy commissions fifth and final River-class OPV

Royal Navy commissions fifth and final River-class OPV

HMS Spey
Photo: Royal Navy

The Roya Navy has raised the White Ensign on the final of five new offshore patrol vessels that were built by BAE Systems between 2014 and 2020.

HMS Spey was delivered to Portsmouth Naval Base in October from the shipbuilder’s Clyde yard for the final stages of construction before Spey’s crew took custody of her yesterday afternoon.

“It is such a privilege to lead Spey’s complement through the coming trials and training program and bring her to operational status,” Spey’s first commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, said.

Spey will need to complete a series of safety and readiness checks, successfully complete about a month of Operational Sea Training later this year and then she can be formally commissioned into the fleet like her sisters HMS Tamar and Trent did during 2020.

They are both on operations in UK waters, Trent having returned from her second deployment to the Mediterranean. The first two Batch 2 River Class, HMS Forth and Medway are deployed to the South and North Atlantic respectively.

The second-generation River-class program has delivered five warships inside six years, joining the original Rivers (HMS Mersey, Severn and Tyne), with the two most recently constructed benefitting from urea filters which reduce their nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions by 90 per cent.

The Royal Navy says the Batch II program was completed £44m under its original approved cost of £690 million. Despite this, the program did not always go as smoothly as expected. HMS Forth, the first Batch II ship, had to be returned to the shipbuilder for rectification work due to faults with electrical systems on the ship and other minor deficiencies. The ship spent close to a year undergoing repairs before returning to sea in June 2019.