The UK Royal Navy’s newest patrol ship HMS Spey (P234) has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin Contractor Sea Trials this week.
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.
The vessel’s 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. Spey is scheduled to complete her trials and training next year.
HMS Spey is last of five new Batch II River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and will join her older sisters HMS Forth (P222), HMS Medway (P223), HMS Tamar (P233) and HMS Trent (P224), all of which are now operational.
The second batch of River-class OPVs are part of the Royal Navy’s forward presence programme which will see ships forward deployed on operations around the globe. It will see the ships remain on task while members of the ship’s company work on a rotation basis, giving them time to take leave, complete promotion courses and undertake training.
The new OPVs provide enough space for a flight deck and accommodation for 50 embarked Royal Marines. The flight deck is large enough to support the Fleet Air Arm’s Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.