The Royal Navy is set to receive two new patrol boats from UK based boat builder, Marine Specialised Technology (MST). They were awarded a £9.9-million ($12.9 million) contract to build the new boats which will replace the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron fast patrol craft.
According to Marine Specialised Technology (MST), construction started last month (July 2020) and they will provide four years of local in-service support. The first vessel is due in late 2021 and the second will be ready in the first quarter of 2022.
Who Is Marine Specialised Technology?
MST is a world leader in providing Rigid Inflatable and High-Speed Workboats for military and professional use. They offer flexible modular solutions from a wide selection of well-designed and proven platforms to meet a customer’s specific requirements.
Like PRV Engineering, MST works closely with their clients during the development stage so they can understand exactly what is required before manufacturing can begin. With such a tailored approach, each MST boat is ideally suited to the role it was built for and that means continuously delivering maximum performance, capability and effectiveness.
Naval Architects and Marine Engineers oversee all aspects of the design, development and assembly of all craft. The components are manufactured by specialists within those areas to ensure the boat is manufactured to the highest possible standard.
What Is The Gibraltar Squadron?
The Gibraltar Squadron was first established in 1985 after the withdrawal of the RAF Marine Craft Unit No. 1102. They are the only seagoing Royal Naval unit based in Gibraltar, attached to the British Forces Gibraltar. Currently, they patrol HMNB Gibraltar and British Gibraltar territorial waters.
Earlier this year, they replaced two 16 m (52 ft 6 in) patrol ships HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre with two Archer class boats, HMS Pursuer and HMS Dasher. The squadron also uses three Pacific 24 rigid-hulled inflatable boats with a total capacity of 26 people.
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Boat Building For The Royal Navy
The development of these new patrol boats was a collaborative effort between MST and the BMT Group. They will provide support throughout the design process, construction and commissioning of both. Once completed, these new naval vessels will be the largest and most advanced MST has ever built.
These brand new additions to the Royal Navy will come with ample power and estimated speeds of up to 40 knots. It will provide the Gibraltar Squadron with a larger platform featuring several improvements across the board, including the following:
- More power and speed thanks to triple Marine Jet Power (MJP) 350 X Series waterjets and three Volvo D13-1000 engines (1,000 HP each)
- Improved handling, seakeeping and advanced protection compared to the outgoing Archer-class HMS Pursuer and HMS Dasher.
- An integrated paperless bridge system and a modern communication and surveillance suite
Defending British Waters
According to UK Defense Minister Jeremy Quin, “These new vessels will enable the Royal Navy to maintain the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and protect British, NATO and Allied ships transiting through the region. This contract will also support highly skilled jobs across the UK which clearly demonstrates how national security and regional prosperity go hand in hand.”
Mark Milsom, Project Manager for DE&S Boats Team confirmed that “there has been a British armed forces presence in Gibraltar for more than 100 years and these boats will ensure we maintain an important capability to the Royal Navy and our armed forces, as well as playing a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting domestic waters and supporting maritime interests.”
These newcomers to the Royal Navy will provide Gibraltar Squadron with a better overall capability to help them fulfil a vital role. They will be the first commissioned Royal Navy craft to be built on the Mersey since 1992. It was then that Cammell Laird launched the Submarine HMS Unicorn and the HMS Campbeltown in 1987.
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