The first of the Royal Navy’s next-generation patrol ships is today at sea as she sailed down the Clyde for the first time.
HMS Forth leads a class of five state-of-the-art warships which will act as the RN’s eyes and ears around the 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 – yesterday afternoon with a maximum number of 110 souls aboard. Every bunk aboard is filled.
Contractors from builders BAE, experts from the military’s support organization DE&S, the RN’s equipment trials specialists MCTA and ship’s company will guide Forth 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, Forth and her sisters – Trent, Medway, Tamar and Spey – are a big leap forward from Tyne, Severn, Mersey and Clyde, which were designed and built 15 years ago.