Royal Navy commissions 2nd River-class OPV

HMS Medway (P223), the second of the Royal Navy’s new River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPV), has been officially welcomed into the navy with her commissioning ceremony at Chatham Dockyard on September 19, 2019.

The Portsmouth-based OPV sailed to the docks in Kent on the River Medway – the waterway she’s named after – for the ceremony and is now ready to deploy.

“Today marks the culmination of five years of hard work. Getting HMS Medway to this point has taken huge effort and it has been incredibly rewarding to deliver a brand new warship to the Royal Navy,” Commander Ben Power, the ship’s commanding officer, said on the occasion.

In March this year, the new warship – the second of the five Batch 2 River-class OPVs – was officially handed over to the navy by BAE Systems. The construction of the ship began in Glasgow in 2015.

The ship’s company moved on board in May 2019 and the newbuild ship first sailed in June, joining her sister ship HMS Forth in Portsmouth.

HMS Medway and the new OPVs provide much greater capability, including a flight deck, increased top speed and longer endurance at sea. The better endurance of HMS Medway and her fellow class ships means they can be deployed overseas as well as in home waters, according to the navy.

They will undertake a variety of roles, including counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling, maritime defence and counter-narcotics as well as securing the UK’s borders and protecting UK interests around the globe.

The Batch 2 OPV program of five vessels represents a Ministry of Defence investment of £648m. All five Batch 2 OPV’s are to be delivered to the Royal Navy by 2021.

Photo: HMS Medway. Photo: Royal Navy