At BAE Systems’ shipyard in Govan, Scotland on 21 April the Chief Executive of Defence Equipment & Support, Tony Douglas, cut the first metal to begin construction of HMS SPEY, the fifth and final RIVER-class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Royal Navy (RN).

The fabrication facility has recently been the recipient of £2 million in company-funded new technology, including two new robotic welding machines and a new laser cutting machine, which will be used on SPEY; BAE Systems has diligently leveraged new technology into the OPV programme as a testbed for techniques and technologies that can be used in the Type 26 GLOBAL COMBAT SHIP programme, for which construction is expected to start later this year. “We are investing in the latest digital design technologies and new processes which enable us to deliver the quality ships and help to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK,” Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, stated.

The RN’s first new OPV, HMS FORTH, was launched in August 2016, less than two years after construction commenced, and is now preparing for sea trials. The Batch2 design differs from the RN’s existing RIVER-class ships, variants of which are also in service with the Brazilian and Thai navies.


The RIVER-class OPV offers flexible performance at an affordable cost. (Photo via open sources)

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