HMS Spey has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin contractor sea trials.
The £100m warship is the final in a batch of souped-up patrol ships which will form a key part of the navy’s future overseas ambitions.
The 2,000-tonne vessel is now carrying out critical final tests before heading to her home base in Portsmouth later this year.
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Taking place off the west coast of Scotland, the trails will put Spey’s major systems to the test, with engineers examining everything from propulsion and computer systems to the ship’s structural integrity.
Spey’s weapons, including her 30mm main gun, will also undergo live-fire testing.
Her 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.
HMS Spey is last of five new River-class ships and will join her older sisters HMS Forth, Medway, Tamar and Trent, all of which are now operational.
When trials and training are complete next year, Spey will operate as part of the navy’s forward presence programme, stationed around the world for several years at a time, with the ship’s company changing on a regular basis.