Royal Navy’s next-generation patrol ship completes maiden sea trials

Photo: Royal Navy

HMS Medway, the second of the Royal Navy’s next-generation patrol ships, will debut in Portsmouth in the New Year after completing her maiden sea trials.

The offshore patrol vessel (OPV) spent 15 days in the Firth of Clyde testing her engines, maneuverability, sensors and main cannon under a mixed civilian/Royal Navy crew under Admiralty Trials Master Capt Graham Baxter.

The 90-meter ship is the second of five 2,000-ton River-class 2.0 vessels built for patrol duties in home waters and beyond by BAE Systems.

After more than a year being fitted out at Scotstoun, the ship headed down the Clyde and into its estuary for a busy trials program.

Throughout the trials package, all onboard systems were put through their paces including the Integrated Platform Management System, which controls and monitors most of the ship’s systems, and the Combat Management System which is used to collate sensor information and assist the command team in the decisions they make when in action.

The Automated Small Calibre Gun, the 30mm cannon on the forecastle, fired rounds at a ‘killer tomato’ inflatable target with accuracy and the off-ship fire monitors tested correctly, according to the navy.

Ship handling trials such as manoeuvrability, speed and range trials generated a lot of interest onboard, as Medway was taken to the upper limits of performance.

Lieutenant Commander Ben Power – Medway’s first sea-going Commanding Officer – said the small ship presented a superb sight as she manoeuvred deftly in the Firth of Clyde.

“She is a hugely-capable ship which will add flexibility and strength to the offshore patrol vessel force,” he added.

Medway is now back in Scotstoun undergoing a final period of planned maintenance and tweaks, as well as processing and analyzing results from the trials to meet criteria which will her allow her to be accepted by the Royal Navy before she sails down to her future home of Portsmouth in 2019.

In October this year, the Royal Navy launched HMS Tamar, the fourth of the OPV newbuilds. After launching, the ship was lowered into the water at BAE System’s Govan yard, then towed three kilometers downstream to the firm’s Scotstoun facility, where fitting out takes place.

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