Construction has begun on a new warship for the Royal Navy as the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne MP cut the first steel in Glasgow this week.
HMS TRENT is the third of three River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) designed and constructed by BAE Systems. Employees, as well as representatives of the Royal Navy and local community, joined the Minister as he switched on a plasma cutting machine in a formal ceremony in Govan.
Defence Minister, Philip Dunne, said: “These new ships will provide an important capability to the Royal Navy and our Armed Forces.They will perform vital tasks in defending the nation’s interests around the world.
“This investment forms part of over £160 billion in our 10 year Equipment Plan which is funded out of the newly protected Defence budget.
“Manufacture of these ships sustains over 800 quality engineering jobs here in Scotland, ensuring that the shipyards on the Clyde continue to sit at the heart of a thriving naval shipbuilding capability. They are paving the way for work to begin on our new T26 frigates next year.”
Mick Ord, managing director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “It is a very proud moment for us to see the first steel for HMS TRENT moving through the production line, which means the entire class of ships is now under construction. This design of offshore patrol vessel builds on the Royal Navy’s existing River Class ships with variants already in service in Brazil and Thailand where they are making a huge impact delivering maritime security. These vessels are already proven to be highly capable and testament to the tremendous skill and dedication of employees on the programme.
“With investments in new technologies, cutting-edge processes, new ways of working and improved facilities we are transforming the way we design and build warships. This will enable us to deliver equipment of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost, helping to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK.”
The first vessel, HMS FORTH, is already taking shape in the ship build hall where pipes are being fitted and last month the heart of the ship, her engine, was installed. The second ship, HMS MEDWAY, will begin assembly alongside it by the end of this year.
The 90 metre OPV is based on a proven BAE Systems design, which is already in service with the Brazilian Navy and Royal Thai Navy. Engineers at BAE Systems have modified the design to meet the requirements of the Royal Navy in support of UK interests both at home and abroad. The OPVs will be globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol with a range of in excess of 5,000 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 24 knots.
The vessels will include a modified flight deck capable of operating the latest Merlin helicopters, larger stores and more accommodation for embarked troops. They will also be the first ships to be built with a BAE Systems designed operating system called Shared Infrastructure, which will be rolled out across the Royal Navy’s surface fleet over the next 10 years. The Shared Infrastructure hardware solution provides a smart, easily-updatable operating system for warships enabling all the systems needed to operate a ship to be loaded onto a single console.
The manufacturing contract for the three ships was announced in August 2014 and construction of first of class HMS FORTH began in October 2014. Second of class, HMS MEDWAY, began in June 2015. The first ship is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2017.