Final new Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Spey debuts at sea

The fifth and final new Royal Navy patrol ship – at the vanguard of the UK’s renewed global aspirations – is at sea for the first time.

HMS Spey has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin Contractor Sea Trials.

A mix of Royal Navy sailors, BAE employees, contractors, inspections authorities and civilian sailors are crewing the 2,000-tonne warship for the key tests and assessments off the west coast of Scotland.

The sea trials are a significant milestone in Spey’s short life to date and are designed to thoroughly test the capability and integrity of the vessel.

Her systems will be tested to the max and will include live firing of her weaponry (including her main 30mm gun), pushing the ship’s engines to their full power and testing her top speeds before the ship returns to Scotstoun.

Her maiden voyage comes just weeks after the first sailors of her ship’s company moved on board and ahead of her journey to Portsmouth later this year when she will officially join the Royal Navy fleet.

HMS Spey is last of five new River-class ships and will join her older sisters HMS Forth, Medway, Tamar and Trent, all of which are now operational.

When trials and training are complete next year, Spey will operate as part of the navy’s Forward Presence programme, stationed around the world for several years at a time, with the ship’s company changing on a regular basis.