The White Ensign was raised for the first time on the second of five Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessels, HMS Medway, as BAE Systems handed the ship over to the Royal Navy.
Medway was handed over as the crew of lead ship HMS Forth are in the final stages to resume trials and training, after the ship underwent post-delivery rectification work to solve problems with the ship’s electrical systems and marine fixings.
Forth is due to replace HMS Clyde in the Falklands. Meanwhile her sisters could find themselves on patrol in the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the Pacific rim operating from Singapore.
“We’re focused on taking Forth to sea before the end of March. We have belief and faith in the ship. Now it is time to test her at sea,” Commander Bob Laverty, HMS Forth’s commanding officer said.
Medway will be a couple of months behind Forth in going to sea for a second time. She is currently having military systems installed on the Clyde after her successful first spell at sea before Christmas. After more trials and training, she’s due to sail for Portsmouth in July.
In September she’ll have her commissioning on the river Medway. She will also exercise the Freedom of the Borough. After that there’s front-line training ready for her maiden deployment overseas at the turn of 2019/20.
Batch 2 River-class OPVs are 90 meters long and have a range of 5,500 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 24 knots. The new OPVs are four knots faster than their Batch 1 predecessors, have a 30mm automatic cannon as their main armament instead of a 20mm gun, two Miniguns, four machine-guns and are equipped with two Pacific 24 sea boats.