Royal Navy officially receives first River-class OPV HMS Forth

HMS Forth, the first of five second-batch River-class offshore patrol vessels to be built for the Royal Navy, was officially received by the UK defense ministry on Thursday.

Forth will be commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet at her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base later this year.

UK defense procurement minister Guto Bebb MP visited BAE Systems’ Clyde shipyards on January 25 to announce the formal acceptance of HMS Forth and witness progress on the Type 26 program as production started on the second hull section of Glasgow, the first of the City-class frigates.

Forth will remain at the Scotstoun yard in Glasgow for a short period to complete some additional work requested by the defense ministry and on departure will be the first warship to leave Glasgow since HMS Duncan in 2013.

Medway, the second of class, was named in October 2017 and is set to depart for sea trials in the first half of this year, while Trent will be formally named in the spring. Tamar and Spey, the last of the River-class OPVs are currently under production at BAE Systems’ Govan yard.

“It has been a pleasure to welcome the Minister to our facilities today and we were proud to show him around,” Iain Stevenson, BAE Systems Naval Ships managing director, said.

Manufacture of the first Type 26, Glasgow, began in July 2017 and is progressing well with production starting on the second zone of the ship. The first hull section is already taking shape at the Govan yard and the second houses the main machinery space, aviation stores for embarked helicopters and a recreational area for the ships’ 59 senior rates.

During the visit BAE Systems also announced the signing of a £5.6 million contract with General Electric to establish an electrical integration and test facility in Whetstone, Leicestershire, to enable de-risking integration tests for the Type 26 propulsion systems. The agreement, which follows a previous design development contract signed in 2016, brings the total committed investment in the facility to around £13 million.