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Dagger and Cutlass are the names of two new UK patrol boats that will guard Gibraltar

Royal Navy fast patrol boat for Gibraltar squadron
Photo: UK MoD

The Royal Navy has named its two new fast patrol boats that will patrol the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar once they are built in 2021 and 2022.

Her Majesty the Queen approved HMS Dagger and HMS Cutlass as the names of two new boats that will join Gibraltar squadron in preventing crime and checking incursions by Spanish vessels into Gibraltar waters.

The UK defense ministry said earlier this year that it had recorded a total of 830 Spanish incursions into Gibraltar’s territory in 2020. The “incursions” are disputed by Spanish government who denies that the Treaty of Utrecht, under which Britain gained sovereignty over the territory, conveys any right to territorial waters for Gibraltar.

Dagger and Cutlass will also support British exercises and operations in the area and will keep close watch over Gibraltar’s shores.

It is worth noting that Dagger is a name new to the Royal Navy. It was due to have been assigned to a weapon-class anti-submarine escort in late World War 2. However, the the ship was cancelled after the conflict ended.

Only one previous HMS Cutlass has served under the White Ensign. During the 1970s with her sisters Scimitar and Sabre, not the same vessels which later served in Gibraltar. She was used to train Royal Navy and NATO warships to deal with the threat of fast missile/torpedo craft as part of the First Fast Training Boat Squadron.

The two new boats will be built by Marine Specialised Technology (MST) under a contract from July 2020, and will replace the Gibraltar squadron fast patrol craft, HMS Pursuer and Dasher. These two Archer-class vessels very recently took over from HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, the Scimitar-class vessels that had been in service in Gibraltar for 17 years.

MST is to deliver the first boat later this year and the second one in early 2022. The company will also provide an additional four years of local in-service support.

The boats will initially carry three multi-purpose machine guns, and will be “fitted for but not with” 0,50 cal heavy machine guns. At a length of 19 meters, they will have a top speed of 40 knots and have the capacity to transport 6 personnel in addition to 6 crew.