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UK extends Batch 1 River-class OPV life out to 2028

HMS Tyne departs Portsmouth. BAE Systems has been contracted to provide in-service support to the three Batch 1 River class OPVs out to their revised OSD of April 2028. (Royal Navy/Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) plans to maintain its Batch 1 River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) in service for another six-and-a-half years, official documents have revealed.

A contract award notice published by the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation on 14 October indicates that the out of service date (OSD) for the three ships – HMS Severn, HMS Tyne, and HMS Mersey – has been pushed out to April 2028

Severn, Tyne, and Mersey were originally built by Vosper Thornycroft (subsequently acquired by BAE Systems). Entering service from 2003, they were initially leased to the RN before being acquired outright by the MoD in 2012.

The three 80 m vessels were originally planned to be retired following the introduction to service of the five later Batch 2 River-class OPVs. This process had started with the decommissioning of Severn in October 2017

However, the decision was taken in 2018 to retain the ships for fisheries protection work in UK waters post-Brexit, and to reactivate Severn for further service. Following a refit and regeneration, Severn returned to operational service in July 2020.

The current in-service support contract for the Batch 1 River-class OPVs was first placed in 2013 and currently runs to July 2023. DE&S has now confirmed the award of a a GBP68.7 million (USD94.5 million) contract extension, lasting four years and nine months, to BAE Systems Maritime Services to provide support, repair, and maintenance of HMS Severn, HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey through to their revised OSD.

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