December 6, 2005
Falklands patrol vessel takes shape
VT Group (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) is on course for the June 2006 launch by VT Shipbuilding of the first complete ship to be built in Britain's Portsmouth Naval Base for nearly 40 years.
HMS Clyde is an 80 m Offshore Patrol Vessel (Helicopter) that will replace two Castle Class ships HMS Leeds Castle and HMS Dumbarton Castle as the Falklands Islands Patrol Vessel. The design is based on the three River Class ships currently in service with the Royal Navy and used on fishery protection duties.
The Batch 2 River Class is enhanced by the inclusion of a helicopter deck capable of accepting helicopters up to the size of the new Merlin aircraft, increased accommodations to house an embarked military force, a bigger gun, higher levels of survivability and surveillance radar.
HMS Clyde is scheduled for hand-over in Fall 2006.
Like the previous River Class ships, HMS Clyde will be funded and owned by VT. It will be chartered to the U.K. Ministry of Defense for a five-year period in an agreement worth some GBP 30 million ($52 million).
The vessel will be manned and operated by the Royal Navy but VT will be responsible for providing a full Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) service to maintain the vessel so that it is available for use for more than 280 days a year.
By utilizing modern automated equipment and commercial maintenance practices, VT will guarantee the Falkland Islands patrol mision availability with a single ship, compared to the two currently needed to provide the same availability--a daunting task when working from nearly 6,000 miles away.
HMS Clyde will spend its entire life in the South Atlantic, meaning that it will rely almost entirely on a network of support provided by existing VT personnel based in the Falklands, on-board staff and regional links.
The ship will benefit from improved production techniques and advances in quality resulting from VT's move to state-of-the-art facilities at the Portsmouth Naval Base.
In addition, says VT Shipbuilding Portsmouth Facility Managing Director Francis Paonessa. the program "follows the ground-breaking nature of the River Class in having an integrated project team. It's a big advantage in having design, technical, production, support and RN staff sitting together in one project office."
RIVER CLASS BATCH TWO SPECIFICATION