BAE Systems Naval Ships has been awarded a £348 million contract by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense to build three new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Navy, according to a company release.
The design has been adapted from a proven BAE Systems OPV in service with the Brazilian and Royal Thai navies, will be globally deployable, and is to be capable of open ocean patrol.
The new 90-meter vessels will be built at BAE Systems’ facilities in Glasgow, and perform maritime security, counterterrorism, and anti-smuggling duties for the Royal Navy. They are planned to be larger than the River-class vessels they are to replace, with more storage and accommodation space. They will also have larger flight decks, which will be capable of supporting Merlin helicopters. The design has been adapted from a proven BAE Systems OPV in service with the Brazilian and Royal Thai navies, will be globally deployable, and is to be capable of open ocean patrol. The new OPVs will have a range of 5,500 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 24 knots.
“This is a significant contract award which marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the UK shipbuilding sector,” said BAE Systems Naval Ships Managing Director Mick Ord. “We’re making major investments in our people, technology and facilities to create a world-class complex warship capability and the OPVs provide an opportunity to embed these new ways of working. This will ensure we remain competitive and are best placed to secure the Type 26 manufacturing contract, which together with the investments will sustain the long-term future of this highly skilled industry.”
The contract follows up one for long-lead items such as engines and transmissions that was issued in March 2014. Production is expected to start in October, with the first of class to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2017.