UK MoD invests £20 million for Royal Navy OPVs
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has committed £20 million to its plans to purchase three new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Navy, with the signing of a contract with shipbuilder BAE Systems.
The contract will enable BAE Systems to begin work on parts such as the engines and gearboxes ahead of the commencement of the main shipbuilding programme.
The MoD announced in November 2013 that it would purchase the OPVs to add capability to the Royal Navy fleet, while plugging a construction gap at the BAE Systems shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland.
Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, said: ‘This £20 million is a significant milestone, critical to the successful delivery of these three vessels for the Royal Navy. The OPVs will not only provide an additional capability for the UK but also at its peak, the OPV programme will safeguard more than 800 vital skilled roles in the shipbuilding industry.’
The plan is for the OPVs to support counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in the waters around the UK and other UK interests abroad. Compared to the current River Class ships, the new OPVs will have more storage and accommodation facilities and a larger flight deck for Merlin helicopters. The first OPV is expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2017.
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