First Royal Navy River Class Handed Over

Friday, January 17, 2003
Vosper Thornycroft (VT) Shipbuilding’s innovative project to build three Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy has reached a major milestone with the acceptance of the first ship.

Having successfully completed the trials program, HMS Tyne was handed over at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base after making the short voyage from VT’s Woolston, Southampton, shipyard.The 264-ft. OPVs represent a unique procurement for the Royal Navy. They are believed to be the first ships built and funded by industry for charter to the Ministry of Defense. Under the agreement, VT will finance the $97M, build of the three ships and will charter them to the MoD for an initial period of five years. At the end of that time, the MoD can either extend the charter, purchase outright or return them to VT.VT Shipbuilding Managing Director Andrew Bunney explained: “HMS Tyne and her sister ships are an excellent example of industry and the Ministry of Defense working closely together to provide the Royal Navy with the resources it needs through innovative means. “These ships will be a major improvement on the current Fishery Protection vessels and we hope that the RN will commit to further ships of this Class in the future. The design also has considerable export potential, attracting particular interest in New Zealand. ”Under the contract, VT’s Integrated Logistics Division will fully support the ships in service, guaranteeing a greater amount of availability at sea than currently afforded by the five Island Class ships and providing the MoD with very significant cost savings.HMS Tyne will join the Fishery Protection Squadron and will undertake a programme of trials and crew training before being commissioned into the RN next year. HMS Severn is scheduled for acceptance next Spring, while the third ship HMS Mersey will be handed over next Autumn.The three OPVs utilise a double chine hull form and will provide an improved seakeeping performance compared to the Island Class and a much higher grade of accommodation. Modular cabins pre-fabricated and outfitted by VT are single or two-berth and have en-suite facilities.The ships will have state-of-the-art machinery control systems supplied by VT Controls and the latest navigation and communication systems. They will also carry two Halmatic Pacific 22 MkII boarding and rescue boats with dedicated single-man operation davits and RIB tracking systems.One of the major assets of the ship is a large working deck which can accommodate up to seven containers, enabling the ship to carry elements such as additional stores, workshops, minecountermeasure support containers, a diving recompression container or medical facilities. A 25-ton capacity deck crane is fitted to facilitate such operations. Alternatively, the space can be used to carry small vehicles or special forces equipment.

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