Royal Navy: Sophisticated surveillance ship RFA Proteus sworn into service to protect UK from external threats
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Dedicated at a ceremony in the heart of London, RFA Proteus will be tasked with underwater surveillance operations. It will also act as a launching pad for remotely-operated vehicles and be a home to a suite of specialist capabilities similar to those found in the oil and gas industries.
Following a visit to Portsmouth last week, the Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance vessel was formally dedicated on the River Thames on Tuesday (October 10). Commodore David Eagles, head of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – which operate the ship – said: “It is a huge honour and responsibility for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary to be charged with crewing and operating RFA Proteus and delivering her unique, sovereign capability in partnership and collaboration with our Royal Navy, defence and government agency colleagues.
"Bringing a ship into service is a demanding endeavour which relies on a diverse, multi-skilled team, strong leadership, and unflinching determination. Proteus is no different and I pay tribute to the men and women in the UK, military and civilian who have contributed to this project and made today possible.”
The ceremony took place in the presence of the RFA Commodore-in Chief, Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh, and businesswoman and wife of prime minister Rishi Sunak, Akshata Murty.
Ms Murty will be RFA Proteus’ sponsor throughout the ship’s active life. She said: “It is a privilege to be the sponsor of RFA Proteus as she comes into service. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary are unsung heroes of our maritime security, and I am incredibly proud of all those who have worked on her to date, and all those who will serve on board in the years to come.
"I look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with Proteus and all associated with her.” The Ministry of Defence (MoD) committed to invest in RFA Proteus 11 months ago.
She is named after the god of rivers and water in Greek mythology, and is also the first ship in its Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) programme. The vessel underwent a £70m conversion since arriving at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, in January.
RFA Proteus is also equipped with a flight deck a 1,000-square metre cargo deck, as well as a heavy-duty crane for lifting and lowering operations. Weighing 6,000-tonnes, the vessel will be crewed by 26 Royal Fleet Auxiliary officers and sailors – as well as 60 Royal Navy specialists.
These specialists will be responsible for the undersea surveillance, survey and warfare systems. The ship left Merseyside last month to begin trials and training near Portland, before heading to the capital to berth alongside HMS Belfast for the naming ceremony.
Her Commanding Officer, Captain Martin Jones RFA, said: “It is a huge honour to be able to bring RFA Proteus to the City of London for her official naming ceremony. To be berthed at such an auspicious location alongside HMS Belfast on the River Thames, is a unique opportunity to present the RFA to the public eye and allow the ships company to enjoy the sights and sounds of London.”