BAE starts work on river-class vessels

RIVER CLASS HMS Tyne, Mersey, and Severn
RIVER CLASS HMS Tyne, Mersey, and Severn
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WORK began this week on maintenance to the Royal Navy’s river-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

BAE Systems has started a new contract worth £22m to support and provide maintenance for the OPVs.

The firm was awarded the contract in September, guaranteeing work on the Portsmouth-based ships for the next five years.

Richard Dingley, the fleet services director at BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: ‘This contract award is recognition that our support of the river-class OPVs will be a value for money service.

‘The Royal Navy can be assured that the high ship availability we have achieved over the last 10 years will continue.

‘I am delighted we have won the contract in competition to deliver this highly regarded service.’

BAE Systems has two main arms to its Portsmouth operation – shipbuilding and maritime services.

As reported in The News, it is the shipbuilding division which is looking to pull out of Portsmouth and move its operations to Scotland.

The maintenance and repair arm will remain.

The river-class repair work will provide the Royal Navy with 320 operationally-available days per year for each ship.

It means the vessels can stay at sea as much as possible, providing fishery protection, environmental protection, search and rescue operations, and maritime security.

Meanwhile, the firm has just signed a £6m contract to extend its warships support.

An extension to one of the contracts held between BAE and the Royal Navy will see extended global support to the fleet.

Mr Dingley added: ‘The extension to the surface ship support contract is hugely important.

‘It will allow BAE Systems to continue delivering platform availability to the fleet, it gives us the space to build on our successes, and constantly improve upon the service we provide through our business improvement programme.’