Tag Archives: Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)

Bangladeshi patrol

On October 12, 2017, Fincantieri has delivered at its shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) the last two units part of the supply contract of four Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), to the Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG), through the upgrading and conversion of the «Minerva» class corvettes, decommissioned by the Italian Navy. These are the «Urania» and «Danaide» vessels, renamed «KARAMUZZAMAN» and «MANSOOR ALI», which have been retired from the national fleet in March 2016 and shortly after arrived at Fincantieri’s dock in Genova, where the upgrading and conversion activities started. The units have been completed at the Integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia).

Fincantieri has converted and upgraded four former Italian navy corvettes into offshore patrol vessels for the Bangladesh Coast Guard. The first were handed over in August 2016 and the final two on October 12 (Fincantieri photo)
Fincantieri has converted and upgraded four former Italian navy corvettes into offshore patrol vessels for the Bangladesh Coast Guard. The first were handed over in August 2016 and the final two on October 12 (Fincantieri photo)

Attending the ceremony, among others, Mr. Mostafa Kamal Uddin, Secretary to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Rear Adm. AMMM Aurangzeb Chowdhury, Director General of the Bangladesh Coast Guard, while Fincantieri was represented by Paolo Frino, Deputy Senior Vice President Fincantieri Services.

Together with «Minerva» and «Sibilla», renamed «SYED NAZRUL» and «TAJUDDIN» and delivered in August 2016, these vessels will form the backbone of the Bangladesh Coast Guard’s fleet, with an extension of the lifespan by more than twenty years.

The units will be used to patrol the country’s maritime boundaries and traffic in its Exclusive Economic Zone, with capabilities to contain environmental pollution and to rescue and assist civilian populations in the case of humanitarian emergencies. This contract has confirmed, therefore, the ability of Fincantieri – the only one among the suppliers of naval vessels – to offer tailor-made solutions for every Navy and Coast Guard, according to individual needs and characteristics, by developing new projects or, alternatively, thanks to the precious support of the Italian Navy, by performing in-depth and strict refitting process on second-hand units.

Within the development of Fincantieri business in the Far East, this agreement is moreover particularly relevant for the supply of after-sales services for naval vessels, because it allows to provide a full range of services for both the platform and the combat system: from industrial Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Conversions  to those related to the Life Cycle Management of the vessels, both through the supply of Integrated Logistic Support services, usually developed during construction or conversion, and of In Service Support activities, ensured after the delivery, during the operation of the vessels.

Debut at sea

The first of the Royal Navy’s (RN) next-generation patrol ships HMS Forth (P222) is at sea as she sailed down the Clyde for the first time on August 31.

The Forth is with us – Navy's new patrol ship makes her debut at sea (RN photo)
The Forth is with us – Navy’s new patrol ship makes her debut at sea (RN photo)

HMS Forth (P222) leads a class of five state-of-the-art warships which will act as the RN’s eyes and ears around the United Kingdom (UK), help to safeguard fishing stocks, reassure and protect Falkland Islanders and deploy to the Mediterranean and Caribbean if necessary.

Designed for a crew of just under 60 (but needing only 38 crew at any one time to go to sea), the ship departed Scotstoun – where she’s spent several months being fitted out – on August 30 afternoon with a maximum number of 110 souls aboard. Every bunk aboard is filled.

Contractors from builders BAE Systems, experts from the military’s support organisation Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the RN’s equipment trials specialists Maritime Capability Trials and Assessment (MCTA) and ship’s company will guide HMS Forth (P222) through her ‘contractor sea trials’ to see how she handles and how the equipment on board performs.

Although she’s classed as a Batch 2 River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), HMS Forth (P222) and her sisters – HMS Medway (P223), HMS Trent (P224), HMS Tamar and HMS Spey – are a big leap forward from HMS Tyne (P281), HMS Severn (P282), HMS Mersey (P283) and HMS Clyde (P257), which were designed and built 15 years ago.

They’re four knots/4.6 mph/7.4 km/h faster, carry a 30-mm, not 20-mm main gun, two Miniguns, four machine-guns, two Pacific 24 sea boats. Each ship is equipped with a flight deck (only HMS Clyde (P257) of the first-generation craft can host a helicopter) and there’s accommodation for up to 50 troops/Royal Marines to support operations ashore if needed.

Junior ratings share six-berth cabins – as on Type 45 destroyers; senior rates and officers will live in two-berth en suite cabins.

HMS Forth (P222), which is affiliated to the historic city of Stirling, also borrows many of the first batch’s features – which were revolutionary in RN ships at the time: fixed fire-fighting systems across much of the ship, a computer-controlled machinery monitoring system. The bridge is far more Type 45 (spacious, computerised with interchangeable displays, communications kit) than a rather cramped Type 23 frigate.

«Today marks a key moment in the generation of the ship and it is extremely exciting to be on board», said Commander Bob Laverty, Forth’s first Commanding Officer. «Forth boasts state-of-the-art equipment, and my Ship’s Company are looking forward to developing their knowledge of the systems on board with their industry counterparts».

The Batch 2s are from the same family as the Batch 1s «but are a completely new design», Lieutenant Tom Sleight, Forth’s Navigator, explained.

«The design provides a lot more operational flexibility with the large flight deck and space for the embarked force. These ships will be able to conduct all of the fishery protection and domestic security duties currently undertaken by the squadron but will now also provide far more capable platform for deploying overseas such as when HMS Mersey (P283) provided support to migrant operations in the Mediterranean or HMS Severn (P282) and HMS Mersey (P283) on Atlantic Patrol North. They are going to be extremely capable ships when compared with their predecessors».

Ship No.2, HMS Medway (P223), has taken Forth’s place at Scotstoun for fitting out having been floated down river from Govan in mid-August.

HMS Forth (P222), the first of the Royal Navy's second batch of Offshore Patrol Vessels, sails down the Clyde towards the open sea for the first time (RN photo)
HMS Forth (P222), the first of the Royal Navy’s second batch of Offshore Patrol Vessels, sails down the Clyde towards the open sea for the first time (RN photo)

Fifth OPV for UK

BAE Systems welcomed Mr. Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of Defence Equipment and Support, to its Govan shipyard in Glasgow on 21 April 2017 to cut the first metal and begin construction of HMS Spey, the fifth and final River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Royal Navy.

Construction begins on fifth OPV for UK Royal Navy
Construction begins on fifth OPV for UK Royal Navy

To mark the occasion, employees were joined at a ceremony by representatives of the Royal Navy and the local community as Mr. Douglas operated the plasma cutting machine to cut the first steel plates for HMS Spey.

BAE Systems has recently invested over £2 million in new technology for its Fabrication Facility, including the introduction of two robotic welding machines and a new laser cutting machine, which will be used on HMS Spey and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship later this year.

DE&S CEO Tony Douglas, said; «The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme; today’s steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too. I am looking forward to continuing this long-standing and close relationship when we begin manufacturing for the Type 26 fleet later in the summer».

Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «It is special occasions such as the steel cut of HMS Spey today that help us reflect on the importance of what we do, delivering the ships that will protect our nation’s interests at home and abroad. We are investing in the latest digital design technologies and new processes which enable us to deliver the quality ships and help to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK. We now have five OPVs in various stages of construction at our shipyards in Glasgow and I look forward to seeing the first of class Type 26 Global Combat Ship start to take shape in the summer of this year».

This OPV design differs from the Royal Navy’s existing River Class ships but there are variants already in service in Brazil and Thailand which puts capability at the forefront of their navies.

The first vessel, HMS Forth (P222), entered the water in August 2016, less than two years after construction started, and is now preparing for sea trials before being delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of 2017.

Work on the River Class OPVs continues to sustain skills in Glasgow and the wider supply chain, with more than 100 companies in the programme across the UK.

The first vessel, HMS Forth (P222), entered the water in August 2016
The first vessel, HMS Forth (P222), entered the water in August 2016