The fast patrol boat HMS Cutlass has been formally handed over to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron after three months of trials, ready for being declared fully operational in the spring.
HMS Cutlass has been in Gibraltar since November, carrying out key sea trials ahead of its formal transfer into Royal Navy’s hands.
With HMS Dagger – due to arrive on the Rock later this year – HMS Cutlass will be the backbone of the squadron, replacing the two P2000s temporarily assigned to Gibraltar, Dasher and Pursuer.
With a top speed of 40 knots, the new boats – built by Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology – are twice as fast as the P2000s, smaller, nimbler and equipped with the latest optical and infra-red systems, enabling crew to identify and track potential threats at range.
The navy added that many of the systems on board are autonomous, helping the crew in the operation, maintenance and response to any unforeseen incidents.
“We are delighted that HMS Cutlass has proven her capability during the manufacturer’s trials and she is now ready to begin the Royal Navy safety and readiness checks,” said Cutlass’ first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Colman.
The Gibraltar Squadron will now carry out a series of trials, exercises and training supported by fleet operational sea training to generate the vessel and its crew to full operational capability in the spring.