A ROYAL Navy vessel has made its maiden voyage into Portsmouth.
Welcomed by more than 100 families to the city’s naval base, the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Medway arrived in Portsmouth for the first time earlier today.
The second of five Batch Two River Class vessels, HMS Medway will be carrying out anti-smuggling operations, as well as fishery protection, border patrols, counter-terrorism and counter-privacy.
The vessel is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, two miniguns and four machine guns, and a flight deck that can accommodate a Merlin helicopter.
Commander Simon Pressdee, commander of the Fishery Squadron, said: ‘Today is a significant step in HMS Medway’s journey and a great achievement for both the ship’s company and our industrial partners in BAE Naval Ships who built her.
‘Medway now enters the next phase of force generation which will see her develop into a warship and made ready for sustained patrol operations in the new year.’
Construction of HMS Medway began back in 2015, and is due to be formally commissioned in September.
After this, she will provide the Royal Navy with patrol capabilities in home waters or overseas.
Rear Admiral Jim Higham, senior officer responsible for the Batch Two River Class programme, said: ‘It is a great pleasure to welcome HMS Medway on her first arrival into Portsmouth.
‘Today is is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and dedication.
‘It is an honour to stand alongside their families and friends who have provided such steadfast support and are critical to this.’