£320m deal supports global mission of Royal Navy’s patrol ships

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet Storyline: Ships

The Government is investing £320m to support the Royal Navy’s busiest warships, the offshore patrol vessel flotilla.

Two separate contracts have been signed by the MOD; one for the first generation of ships (Batch 1): HMS Tyne, Severn and Mersey to support the trio through to the end of their active lives in 2028.

BAE Systems will continue to look after the three sisters – which largely operate in and around the UK, but also deploy overseas such as HMS Mersey’s recent mission to the Baltic – with a £70m extension to the existing support deal.

And UK Docks Marine Services will be responsible for meeting the maintenance and support requirements of the second-generation River-class ships, deployed around the globe, frequently thousands of miles from Royal Navy bases or facilities.

His Majesty Ships Forth (Falklands), Medway (Caribbean), Trent (Mediterranean and Africa) and Spey and Tamar (Indo-Pacific) are at the forefront of the UK’s ‘Global Britain’ strategy, operating away from the mother country for years at a time.

The £250m support contract award to the Tyneside-based firm will sustain the quintet until 2031, creating 30 jobs at UK Docks, plus an additional 100 in the firm’s sub-contractors.

“Offshore Patrol Vessels are some of the busiest in the Royal Navy, performing all manner of important duties around the world,” said Commodore Steve McCarthy, DE&S Director Ships Support.

“Maximising their availability is therefore essential, and we are delighted to have been able to secure high-quality in-service support for both batches for years to come.”

Since they are deployed around the globe, the majority of support work for the Batch 2 ships will be carried out at overseas sites with UK Docks, which already supports icebreaker HMS Protector, providing global engineering, technical and logistics support to secure spares, repairs and maintenance services.

UK Docks Managing Director Jonathan Wilson said his firm would ensure the patrol ships received “the highest standards of service and professionalism”.

He continued: “We also see the awarding of this contract as a resounding vote of confidence in home-grown British industry, skills and capability and we look forward to putting those resources at the service of these five important vessels.”

Offshore Patrol Vessels are some of the busiest in the Royal Navy, performing all manner of important duties around the world

Commodore Steve McCarthy, DE&S Director Ships Support