The second of the Navy’s next-generation patrol ships will debut in Portsmouth in the New Year after successfully completing her maiden sea trials.
HMS Medway spent 15 days in the Firth of Clyde tested her engines, manoeuvrability, sensors and main cannon under a mixed civilian/Royal Navy crew under Admiralty Trials Master Capt Graham Baxter.
The ship is the second of five 2,000-tonne River-class 2.0 vessels built for patrol duties in home waters and beyond by BAE Systems on the Clyde.
After more than a year being fitted out at Scotstoun, the ship headed down the Clyde and into its estuary for a busy trials programme.
Throughout the trials package, all onboard systems were put through their paces including the Integrated Platform Management System, which controls and monitors most of the ship’s systems, and the Combat Management System which is used to collate sensor information and assist the command team in the decisions they make when in action.
The Automated Small Calibre Gun, the 30mm cannon on the forecastle, fired rounds at a ‘killer tomato’ inflatable target with impressive accuracy and the off-ship fire monitors tested correctly.
Ship handling trials such as manoeuvrability, speed and range trials generated a lot of interest onboard, as Medway was taken to the upper limits of performance.
“It was great to finally get to sea on Medway,” said marine engineer Chief Petty Officer Will Davies.
“The small Royal Navy team benefited from the experience and had a lot of opportunities to improve their ship and systems knowledge. The whole trials package was really positive.”
Weapon engineer Chief Petty Officer Luke Travell added: “Achieving so much during our trials period really shows how much effort we have all put in. BAE, ship’s staff and all the contractors should be really proud.”
Lieutenant Commander Ben Power – Medway’s first sea-going Commanding Officer – said the small ship presented a superb sight as she manoeuvred deftly in the Firth of Clyde.
“She is a hugely-capable ship which will add flexibility and strength to the offshore patrol vessel force,” he added.
Medway is now back in Scotstoun undergoing a final period of planned maintenance and tweaks, as well as processing and analysing results from the trials to meet criteria which will her allow her to be accepted by the Royal Navy, before she sails down to her future home of Portsmouth in 2019.