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Defence Defence

Deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels

Last updated: 09:05pm 17 June 2019

We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

The Royal Navy deploys Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for a range of maritime defence duties, including counter-piracy, anti-smuggling, border patrol and fishery protection. The government promised to deliver five next-generation OPVs, which are designed to have increased speed, range, capability, armament and an extended flight deck, and will be able to operate in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Falkland Islands.

In 2013 the government announced the creation of three new OPVs: HMS Forth, HMS Medway and HMS Trent. The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 announced the addition of a further two OPVs; HMS Tamar and HMS Spey respectively.

The first of these vessels, HMS Forth, was accepted in January 2018, and officially commissioned to the Royal Navy in April 2018 (although some faults were subsequently identified). The second, HMS Medway, was accepted in March 2019, and is expected to be officially commissioned to the Royal Navy in September 2019. HMS Trent, the third OPV, finished its first set of sea trials in June 2019. The fourth, HMS Tamar, was launched in October 2018 and is in the final stages of fitting. HMS Spey, the fifth and final OPV, is nearing the end of construction. It is expected that the Royal Navy will receive all the OPVs by the end of 2020 and that they will be commissioned shortly after providing that their sea trials are successful.

The government has delivered its first OPV, the second is due to be commissioned in the near future and third is in the midst of its sea trials. One is in the final stages of fitting and the other is still under construction. This policy is ‘in progress’. It will be considered ‘done’ when all the five new vessels are delivered and operational. Follow this policy for updates.

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