in Defence / Events

Medway named as second new patrol ship

Posted 23 October 2017 · Add Comment

A bottle of Chatham-made Dockyard Gin smashed against the bow of the 2,000-tonne warship, Medway, as it was formally named on Friday morning at BAE's Scotstoun yard on the Clyde by Lady Fallon, wife of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and sponsor of Medway throughout her active life.



Above: Lady Fallon formally names HMS Medway.
Courtesy Royal Navy


In under two years' time the ship will be on patrol - either at home or abroad - as one of the second-generation River-class vessels ordered by the government to replace the first series built over a decade ago - HM Ships Tyne, Mersey, Severn and Clyde.

Above: HMS Forth setting off for sea trials.
Courtesy Royal Navy


In their place come HMS Forth - currently undergoing trials off the Scottish coast and earmarked to replace Clyde as permanent guardship of the Falklands - followed by Medway, Trent, Tamar and Spey.

Like their predecessors, the second generation of ships will act as the constant eyes and ears of the Royal Navy, chiefly - though not exclusively - operating around the UK.

They will enforce fishing regulations, ensuring British and foreign crews do not break international rules and exceed quotas, monitor the progress of passing foreign warships and generally support security missions to safeguard the nation's borders and shoreline.

In addition, when needed, Medway and her sisters can deploy thousands of miles from the mother country, such as patrols to support counter-drug trafficking efforts in the Caribbean.

All five vessels - built by BAE jointly at their Govan and Scotstoun yards - are sustaining around 800 jobs north of the border, with the final ship in the class, Spey, due to be in service by the close of 2020.

Each ship has a crew of 58 and is equipped with a 30mm main gun and flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter. With a top speed of 24kts (27½mph), the second-generation can sail 5,500 nautical miles (over 6,300 miles) without needing resupply.



Above: HMS Medway.
Courtesy Royal Navy


Medway is, unsurprisingly, affiliated with the Medway district and Medway Council whose leader, Cllr Allan Jarrett, said the naming of the new vessel was most welcome for "an area which has a rich naval heritage".

He said: "Today we celebrate a new vessel being added to the fleet to help protect UK waters and we would be pleased to invite HMS Medway to visit us on the River Medway soon."

Sir Michael said: “From counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling to securing the UK’s borders, HMS Medway will help keep Britain safe.

"This year we have already named our second aircraft carrier, two Type 26 frigates and the first in the offshore patrol vessel class.

"It is a privilege to see yet another ship named for the growing Royal Navy. Named after Kent's main river, my family has taken a particular interest in HMS Medway over the course of its construction and this is a proud day for all involved."

Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “Today’s naming ceremony is another proud moment in an exceptionally busy year for our business and the Royal Navy. Following the naming of the first River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel in March this year, our employees had the opportunity to celebrate seeing the first Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, set sail for the first time; the first plate of steel cut for the first Type 26 Global Combat Ship; and the naming of the second Aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales. We look forward to delivering HMS MEDWAY to the Royal Navy next year.”

Sir Simon Bollom, Chief of Materiel (Ships) for Defence Equipment and Support, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) procurement organisation for the Ministry of Defence, said: "The naming of HMS Medway is a proud moment for the Royal Navy, supported by DE&S, and our Industry partners and is a significant milestone in the delivery of this world-class fleet of five new warships.

"I look forward not only to the deliveries of the final three OPVs, but continued good progress on the Type 26 programme which the OPV programme has enabled through the sustainment of jobs and skills."

Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, said: "It is wonderful to see the Royal Navy’s newest ship christened with a name steeped in maritime history. As an island nation, the sea is Britain’s frontline. HMS Medway and her four sister ships will form the first line of our defence, protecting the security of our home waters and upholding the sovereignty of our overseas territories.

"HMS Medway is a fine ship, ideally equipped to hunt down terrorists, pirates and people traffickers. But the most impressive element of all is the young men and women who will take her to sea. They’re bright, motivated and ready to do their bit for Crown and Country."

HMS Medway will shortly embark on sea trials where she will be put through her paces in the open waters off the coast of Scotland. With a crew of 58, HMS Medway is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2019.




 

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