According to information released by the British Navy on September 18, 2020, the fifth and final new British Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel HMS Spey River is at sea for the first time.
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The British Royal Navy’s HMS Spey River-class offshore patrol vessel makes its sea debut from Scotstoun. (Image source British Navy)
The British Royal Navy’s HMS Spey left the BAE Systems shipyard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin the contractor’s sea trials. A mix of Royal Navy sailors, BAE employees, contractors, inspection authorities and civilian sailors equip the 2,000-ton warship for key tests and assessments off the west coast of Scotland.
The sea trials are a milestone in Spey’s short life to date and are designed to thoroughly test the capacity and integrity of the vessel. Its systems will be fully tested and will include live fire from its weaponry (including its 30mm main gun), thrusting the ship’s engines to full power, and testing its maximum speeds before the ship returns to Scotstoun.
HMS Spey’s maiden voyage comes just weeks after the first sailors from her ship’s company moved on board and ahead of her voyage to Portsmouth later this year, when she officially joins the Royal Navy fleet.
The British Royal Navy HMS Spey is a Lot 2 River Class offshore patrol vessel currently in late construction in August 2020 for the Royal Navy. The River-class is a highly versatile vessel, designed to fulfill economic exclusion zone management roles, including the provision of maritime security to coastal areas and effective disaster relief.
The 90-meter vessel is fitted with aerial surveillance radar that can be used to detect low-flying aircraft often used in smuggling operations. The ship’s rigid inflatable boat can be deployed quickly from the davits for recovery and rescue operations and enables boarding at sea.
HMS Spey is armed with a 30mm DS30M Mark 2 which can engage fast coastal attack craft armed with short range missiles, rockets, rocket propelled grenades, machine guns or explosives, while cannons 25mm ports mounted on both port and starboard provide secondary armament to the ship.
Featuring a 20-meter-long flight deck, the 90-meter River-class vessel can land and refuel a medium-sized helicopter, up to 7 tons. It also offers a large deck space of up to six 20ft ISO containers for mission stores or humanitarian aid, with a 16 ton capacity crane to easily unload cargo to a jetty.
Offering high quality accommodation, HMS Spey has dormitory, food and leisure facilities for up to 70 crew members, but is able to operate with a reduced crew of only 36. It also includes additional cabins that can accommodate up to 50 other staff, such as interns, special forces, scientists or medical teams.