Work begins on new Royal Navy ship at Govan shipyard

Image source, Crown Copyright 2017
Image caption,
The first steel for HMS Spey was cut at the Govan shipyard

Work has officially begun on HMS Spey at Govan shipyard on the Clyde.

The offshore patrol vessel is the last of five being built in Glasgow for the Royal Navy.

Like HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar, it will be built at BAE System's Govan facility before being fitted out for operations at the Scotstoun yard.

The first sheet of metal for the ship was cut in a ceremony at Govan on Friday.

The work has filled a gap in the order books at the yards, where work on eight Type-26 frigates is due to begin this summer.

It has sustained 800 jobs in the industry, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, said: "The start of work on HMS Spey, the fifth offshore patrol vessel, is another milestone in a significant programme of work which is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Scotland and the vital shipbuilding skills needed to build the Royal Navy's Type 26 frigates.

"The on-going successful delivery of these ships is a key element of the government's 10 year, £178bn equipment plan to provide the UK's armed forces with the kit they deserve."

Image source, Crown Copyright 2017
Image caption,
The CEO of the UK's defence procurement organisation, Tony Douglas, met apprentices at Govan shipyard

The Ministry of Defence said the 90m (295ft) long ship was expected to be able to carry a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.

It will be used to support counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations.

The ship is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019 and enter service in 2021.

Tony Douglas, the CEO of Defence Equipment and Support, the UK's defence procurement organisation, said it was "proud moment".

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