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HMS Forth is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel in active service with the Royal Navy. Named after the River Forth, she is the first Batch 2 River-class vessel to be built. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 13 April 2018, following a commissioning ceremony at her homeport HMNB Portsmouth.

Construction

On 6 November 2013 it was announced that the Royal Navy had signed an Agreement in Principle to build three new offshore patrol vessels, based on the River-class design, at a fixed price of £348 million including spares and support. In August 2014, BAE Systems signed the contract to build the ships on the Clyde in Scotland. The Ministry of Defence stated that the Batch 2 ships are capable of being used for constabulary duties such as "counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations". According to BAE Systems, the vessels are designed to deploy globally, conducting anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling tasks currently conducted by frigates and destroyers. Forth includes some 29 modifications and enhancements over the Amazonas-class corvette built by BAE Systems for the Brazilian Navy.[1]

Steel was cut on Forth on 10 October 2014 at BAE Systems Govan shipyard in Glasgow.[2] She was launched in September 2016,[3] being floated off from a semi-submersible barge in the Clyde rather than receiving a traditional dynamic launch. After launch she was moved down the Clyde for fitting out at BAE Systems Scotstoun shipyard. Forth was christened at a ceremony at Scotstoun on 9 March 2017.[4] In late March 2017, it was announced that the crew of Batch 1 vessel HMS Tyne would be transferred to Forth to bring her into service.[5]

On 31 August 2017, Forth, sailed for contractor sea trials.[6] It was reported in October 2017 that Forth had been earmarked to replace half-sister HMS Clyde as the Falkland Islands Guardship.[7]

Defects on commissioning

It was announced on 25 January 2018 that Forth had been accepted by the Ministry of Defence, from the BAE Systems shipbuilders, and would shortly sail to HM Naval Base Portsmouth for commissioning.[8] She arrived in Portsmouth for the first time on 26 February 2018.[9] Forth was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 13 April 2018, following a ceremony at HMNB Portsmouth. However soon after commissioning, serious faults were discovered with her electrical system and sheared bolts were discovered with heads that had been glued back on. In June 2018 it was announced Forth would be entering dry dock for major rectification work likely to take more than three months. The Royal Navy will be reactivating HMS Tyne to cover planned patrols by Forth, with BAE Systems covering the additional costs.[10][11] Anderson Smith, BAES Commercial Director – Naval Ships, said: “There were a lot of minor defects and we hold our hands up to that… the OPV programme was about the regeneration of shipbuilding capability on the Clyde… In due course we can look back at it the positives, although it doesn’t feel like it at the minute if I’m looking at it from either a customer or a sales perspective, it found we had some shortfalls in some of our processes. We have now fixed them”[12]

Affiliations

  • Stirling
  • TS Forth, Grangemouth

References

  1. "Patrol Craft: Written question - 210211" House of Commons http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2014-10-13/210211/ 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named first-steel
  3. "Royal Navy’s new offshore patrol vessel lowered into the water". 1 September 2016. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2016/september/01/160901-new-opv. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  4. "The Forth is with us - the first of five new patrol ships is named on the Clyde". 9 March 2017. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/march/09/170309-the-first-of-five-new-patrol-ships-is-named. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  5. "Mine hunting crews go fishing to help new-generation patrol ships enter service". 31 March 2017. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/march/31/170331-mine-hunting-crews-go-fishing-to-help-new-generation-patrol-ships-enter-service. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  6. "The Forth is with us - Navy's new patrol ship makes her debut at sea". 31 August 2017. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/august/31/170831-hms-forth. Retrieved 4 September 2017. 
  7. "Make way for Medway as second new patrol ship is named". 20 October 2017. https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/october/20/171020-medway-named. Retrieved 30 October 2017. 
  8. "New navy warship accepted by Defence Minister". 25 January 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-navy-warship-accepted-by-defence-minister. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  9. "HMS Forth welcomed to her home port of Portsmouth". 26 February 2018. https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/february/26/180226-hms-forth-welcomed-to-her-home-port-of-portsmouth. Retrieved 26 February 2018. 
  10. Allison, George (16 June 2018). "HMS Tyne to be reactivated as now delayed Offshore Patrol Vessel fleet faults worse than feared". https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/hms-tyne-to-be-reactivated-as-now-delayed-offshore-patrol-vessel-fleet-faults-worse-than-feared/. Retrieved 18 June 2018. 
  11. Haggerty, Angela; Whitaker, Andrew (13 May 2018). "Second clyde-built Navy vessel found with 'glued bolts' as repairs continue on HMS Forth". https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16222184.second-clyde-built-navy-vessel-found-with-glued-bolts-as-repairs-continue-on-hms-forth/. Retrieved 3 November 2018. 
  12. "Costs, controversy and context. Update on the Royal Navy’s new OPVs". 25 October 2018. https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/costs-controversy-and-context-update-on-the-royal-navys-new-opvs. Retrieved 21 July 2019. 

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