Newer, faster, sleeker, bristling with the latest tech – may we introduce the newest member of the Royal Navy family, HMS Cutlass. \
The £5m fast patrol boat has been formally handed over to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron after three months of trials, ready for being declared fully operational in the spring.
With HMS Dagger – due to arrive on the Rock later this year – Cutlass will be the backbone of the squadron, replacing the two P2000s temporarily assigned to Gibraltar, Dasher and Pursuer.
Cutlass has been in Gibraltar since November, carrying out key sea trials ahead of her formal transfer into RN hands.
With a top speed of 40 knots, the new boats – built by Merseyside-based Marine Specialized Technology – are twice as fast as the P2000s, smaller, nimbler and equipped with the latest optical and infra-red systems, enabling crew to identify and track potential threats at range.
And unlike Dasher and Pursuer – both nearly 35 years old – many of the systems on board are autonomous, helping the crew in her operation, maintenance and response to any unforeseen incidents.
“We are delighted that HMS Cutlass has proven her capability during the manufacturer’s trials and she is now ready to begin the Royal Navy safety and readiness checks,” said Cutlass’ first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Colman.
“She increases the squadron’s capability in providing maritime security and demonstrating UK sovereignty of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.”
The Gibraltar Squadron will now carry out a series of trials, exercises and training supported by Fleet Operational Sea Training to generate the vessel and her crew to full operational capability in the spring.
A spokesman for MST said the firm was providing the Navy with two “state-of-the-art craft – and everyone is delighted with the results”.
They added: “The transition of Cutlass to the Royal Navy is an extremely proud moment for MST and all of its employees who have worked very hard to ensure this project has been the great success it is.”
We are delighted that HMS Cutl