The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) has signed a £9.9 million contract with Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology (MST) for two new patrol boats to replace the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron fast patrol craft.
The six-year contract will see the construction of the two boats beginning in July 2020 and will take approximately 18 months, with Boat 1 due to be delivered in Q3 2021/22 and Boat 2 in Q1 2022/23.
The boats are being built at MST’s boatyards on Merseyside.
The remainder of the contract will provide an additional four years of local in-service support, according to the UK MOD.
Both boats will be used to patrol HMNB Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW). They will also support British exercises and operations in the area and will keep close watch over Gibraltar’s shores.
The vessels will demonstrate UK sovereignty of Gibraltar as well as providing force protection to designated visiting UK and Allied military vessels.
“These new vessels will enable the Royal Navy to maintain the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and protect British, NATO and Allied ships transiting through the region,” Jeremy Quin, Defence Minister, said.
The two new boats will replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft, HMS Pursuer and Dasher. These two Archer-class vessels very recently took over from HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, the Scimitar-class vessels that had been in service in Gibraltar for 17 years.
“There has been a British Armed Forces presence in Gibraltar for more than a hundred years and these boats will ensure we maintain an important capability to the Royal Navy and our armed forces, as well as playing a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting domestic waters and supporting maritime interests,” Mark Milsom, Project Manager for DE&S Boats Team, said.
“These boats will provide the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron with a modern, fast and effective capability for fulfilling their important role.”