Royal Navy press release 21/03/19
The Royal Navy’s ability to protect UK waters has received another boost with the formal naming of HMS Tamar ahead of sea trials. Designed for counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling work, the latest new-generation River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) has formally been named HMS Tamar in the shipyard in Glasgow where she and her sisters were built. The 90-metre ship is equipped with a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of accommodating any of the Royal Navy’s helicopters – including the largest of the lot, the Merlin.
She is the Royal Navy sixth ship to carry the HMS Tamar moniker – taking its title from the River Tamar in the South West of England – and is soon set for sea trials before starting her patrol work next year. Tamar will be part of a five-strong fleet of OPVs, which are the product of a £635m contract with BAE systems.
“From patrolling our coastlines and protecting UK waters to anti-smuggling and counter-terrorism operations, these ships are a key part of our Royal Navy fleet,” Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew said.
“Today’s naming marks an important milestone in HMS Tamar’s programme as she begins sea trials before being accepted into operational service to start her crucial work next year.”
HMS Tamar was named in the traditional manner as a bottle of Camel Valley Brut – from HMS Tamar’s affiliate county, Cornwall – smashed against the hull with Lady Sponsor, Lady Brigitte Peach, whose husband is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, doing the honours.
All the OPVs are initially constructed in BAE System’s Govan yard, before being moved to their Scotstoun site to be fitted out with their systems ahead of rigorous sea trials.
Alongside the Type 26 anti-submarine frigate programme, the Royal Navy work has filled the Glasgow shipyards’ order books until the early 2030s, protecting 1,700 Scottish jobs and supporting a further 2,300 roles across the nation through the supply chain.
“HMS Tamar continues the legacy of ships being built on the Clyde for the Royal Navy and will perform a vital role defending the UK’s interests,” Sir Simon Bollom, chief executive for Defence, Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement agency, said. “It is great news that we are celebrating this milestone alongside our partners in the Royal Navy and BAES. We look forward to the delivery of the remaining OPVs and the further progress on the Type 26 build programme.”
All the Batch 2 OPVs, named HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar, and HMS Spey, are set to be delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of 2020.
Last year it was announced by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson that the Batch 1 Offshore Patrols Vessels, HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey, and HMS Severn, which currently support the Fishery Protection Squadron, would also be retained.
Words and images copyright UK MOD Navy