The UK Royal Navy’s decommissioned Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessel (MCMV), the former HMS Quorn (M41), has been sold to the Lithuanian Navy.
The vessel patrolled the seas as part of the Royal Navy MCMV fleet until 2017. As well as creating a return and savings of £2.5 million for Navy Command, a need for upgrades could see a British-based shipbuilding company win a large contract to carry out the work.
Clive Walker, the Head of the UK Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), said: “I am very pleased to see HMS Quorn move on to a new lease of life, in particular supporting the excellent working relationship that we have with Lithuania as our NATO ally, and potentially supporting British Defence with the regeneration package once the competition for the refurbishment is launched.”
HMS Quorn, the third ship of this name, was the last Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel built for the Royal Navy and was launched on 23 January 1988. She is the third MCMV DESA has sold to Lithuania, following in the wake of HMS Dulverton and HMS Cottesmore in 2008. They became operational as the ‘Skalvis’ class in 2011.
The sale will bring in £1 million and there will be income from a levy following the sale of the sonar system on HMS Quorn. The £750,000 cost of disposing of the ship has been avoided.
Lithuania wants the vessel to deliver the same capability as the Skalvis class, which it will operate alongside, meaning a significant upgrade programme will be required. There will be a competition launched for the contract, which could lead to two years of work for a company which has prior experience of the Hunt Class; most likely a British firm. It is hoped the vessel will be operational for Lithuania in 2023.
The Hunt Class vessels specialize in active mine-hunting. They use high-definition sonar to scour the world’s seabeds for mines and lost explosives, which are then destroyed by the ship’s clearance diving teams or mine disposal system.
Four of the Royal Navy’s mine-hunters are permanently stationed in the Gulf to demonstrate the UK’s continued commitment to enduring peace and to safeguard the flow of international trade. They also work closely with regional and coalition partners to maintain the security of the sea lanes of communications, which are crucial to international shipping and the global economy.