HMS Magpie on sea trials ahead of next month’s delivery

The first of a fleet of over 30 new workboats that are to join the Royal Navy has started rough weather sea trials in the Irish Sea less than a month after being launched.

In addition to being the first, the future HMS Magpie is also the largest of the batch.

It is set to be delivered to the Royal Navy in May and enter service this summer. Magpie will join the hydrographic squadron, replacing veteran survey launch Gleaner which paid off earlier this year in Plymouth after 35 years’ under the White Ensign in HM Naval Base Devonport.

“Magpie will help lead the way in modernizing the Royal Navy’s survey and underwater surveillance capabilities,” Lieutenant Commander William Alexander, Magpie’s new commanding officer and Gleaner’s last, said.

“Her primary role will be in maintaining the integrity of coastal waters, ensuring safety of navigation and resilience of key national infrastructure in UK ports. And with an enduring presence around the UK, she will also contribute to national security at sea.”

The Royal Navy expects Magpie to be able to maintain 20 knots in a Sea State Four with waves up to 2½ meters high.

She’s due to make the journey from Cork to Portland in Dorset for military/hydrographic equipment fitting out, equipment which is a marked improvement on what was installed on Gleaner, such as the latest high-resolution shallow-water multi-beam echo sounder and side-scan sonar. Magpie will also be able to launch remote-controlled underwater devices to search wide areas of seabed for obstructions or mines.