MOD approves two new Royal Navy ships, due 2018

Two more offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) will be built for the Royal Navy after the Ministry of Defence (MOD) signed a new contract worth £287 million.

The two new ships - named HMS Tamar and HMS Spey - will boost the UK’s fleet of next-generation River-class OPVs from three to five ships.

The vessels will be rolled into the Royal Navy’s fleet from 2018 as it seeks to protect national interest at home and globally. The two new ships won’t enter service until 2019 though.

When they do, they will carry out counter terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations, and are expected to be equipped with a 30mm cannon as well as a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.

They will also have a maximum speed of 24 knots and will be able to sail 5,500 nautical miles before having to resupply.

Tony Douglas, chief executive officer at the MOD’s defence equipment and support organisation, said: “These modern ships will have a versatile flight deck, improved firefighting equipment and greater storage and accommodation than previous vessels, giving UK sailors a decisive advantage on a huge range of operations.”

Minister for defence procurement Harriett Baldwin added that the contract will safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland.

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