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British Navy HMS Spey River-class offshore patrol vessel debuts at sea

According to information published by the British navy on September 18, 2020, the fifth and final new British Royal Navy HMS Spey River-class offshore patrol vessel is at sea for the first time.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British Royal Navy HMS Spey River-class offshore patrol vessel debuts at sea from Scotstoun. (Picture source British Navy)

The British Royal Navy HMS Spey has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin Contractor Sea Trials. A mix of Royal Navy sailors, BAE employees, contractors, inspections authorities and civilian sailors are crewing the 2,000-tonne warship for the key tests and assessments off the west coast of Scotland.

The sea trials are a significant milestone in Spey’s short life to date and are designed to thoroughly test the capability and integrity of the vessel. Her systems will be tested to the max and will include live firing of her weaponry (including her main 30mm gun), pushing the ship’s engines to their full power, and testing her top speeds before the ship returns to Scotstoun.

HMS Spey maiden voyage comes just weeks after the first sailors of her ship’s company moved on board and ahead of her journey to Portsmouth later this year when she will officially join the Royal Navy fleet.

The British Royal Navy HMS Spey is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel currently in the late phases of construction as of August 2020 for the Royal Navy.  The River-class s a highly versatile ship, designed to perform Economic Exclusion Zone management roles, including the provision of maritime security to coastal areas and effective disaster relief.

The 90-meter vessel is equipped with an air surveillance radar which can be used to detect low flying aircraft often used in smuggling operations. The ship’s rigid inflatable boat can be deployed swiftly from the davits for recovery and rescue operations and gives the ability to conduct sea boarding.

the HMS Spey is armed with one 30 mm DS30M Mark 2 that can engage fast inshore attack craft armed with short-range missiles, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns or explosives, while 25 mm guns mounted port and starboard provide secondary armament to the vessel.

Featuring a 20-meter long flight deck, the 90-meter River-class vessel can land and fuel a medium-sized helicopter, up to 7 tonnes. It also provides ample deck space to up to six 20ft ISO containers for mission stores or humanitarian aid, with a 16-tonne capacity crane enabling cargo to be easily discharged to a jetty.

Offering a high standard of accommodation, the HMS Spey has sleeping quarters, dining and recreational facilities for up to 70 crew, but is capable of operating with a lean crew of just 36. It also incorporates additional cabin accommodation for up to 50 other personnel such as trainees, special forces, scientists, or medical teams.