The fifth and final new breed of River Class offshore patrol vessel made her first entry to Portsmouth this week.
HMS Spey has arrived after construction on the Clyde by BAE Systems and a set of sea trials. She will continue her generation to warship at HM Naval Base Portsmouth before hoisting the White Ensign for the first time next year.
After delivery to the base on Monday morning under a Red Ensign, representatives of the Royal Navy, BAE Systems and Defence Equipment and Support gathered in the Wardroom to sign her acceptance contracts and welcome her to her base-port.
This marks the end of construction for this batch of five OPVs and allows a Blue Ensign to be raised, denoting a ship in Government service.
Her first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, said: “This is a fantastic day for my Ship’s Company, our friends and families, affiliates and everyone involved in the Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel build project.
“We now embark on an intense period of training to prepare us for operations in the newest and greenest ship the Royal Navy. My team are ready and excited about the journey ahead of us and we are all immensely proud to serve in the eighth ship to bear the name Spey.
“I would like to extend my thanks to BAE Systems for the determination and hard work they have put into getting us to this important milestone and the continued support they will provide in the coming months.”
Spey is expected to be ready for operations by early summer 2021; like her sisters these will be general patrol duties, anti-smuggling taskings and providing humanitarian relief where it’s needed.
Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “The five River Class OPVs have been hugely important for our business, working in collaboration with the UK Ministry of Defence, the Royal Navy and our suppliers. Today’s milestone brings with it an immense sense of pride for us all in delivering this strategically important programme, marking the end of the build phase of the OPV build programme.
“The acceptance of HMS Spey serves as a great reminder of the importance of what we do, and the capability and skills of our employees who worked side by side with the Royal Navy and our partners to deliver these important ships to the Royal Navy.”
Spey’s sisters amongst the Batch 2 OPVs have been making waves overseas with HMS Medway on patrol in the Caribbean, HMS Forth in the Falkland Islands and HMS Trent having deployed to the Mediterranean. The fourth of the Batch 2s, HMS Tamar, is continuing her generation in Portsmouth following her delivery in March.
When the Covid-19 lockdown began in March, Spey was still in fitting-out at Scotstoun. However, she was made sea-ready despite the restrictions and began a successful set of trials in September.