Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
5 July 2007
Also Known As: OPV, OPV(H) and River Class Batch Two
Origin: United Kingdom
Parent System: Clyde
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 5 July 2007
Total Production: 1
Total Cost: USD$60 million
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Description: The Offshore Patrol Vessel Helicopter (OPV(H)) is intended to patrol the waters surrounding the Falkland Island beginning in 2007. The construction contract worth £30 million was awarded by the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the VT Group on February 25, 2005. The new ships will be built at Portsmouth shipyard. The main feature of the OPV patrol vessel is her low cost of maintenance and reduced supportability for deployments outside the bounds of the UK for long periods of time.
The new ship is expected to replace two Castle Class ships currently employed in the Falkland Island role, HMS Dumbarton Castle and HMS Leeds Castle. Modern construction techniques will allow this ship to remain in the South Atlantic area for over seven years when she would return to the United Kingdom to under repair and maintenance. Castle class ships must return to the UK every three years which increases the repair and maintenance costs.
Basically the OPV(H) is an enhanced version of River class with an helicopter flight deck known as River class batch two. The new design is more survivable than its predecessor and incorporates an air surveillance radar. The three River-class vessels are operated by the UK MoD for protection of fisheries around the United Kingdom.
Powered by 2 X 12V RK270 Rushton Marine Diesels Rated at 4125kw at 1000 RPM the OPV has a range of 5,500 nautical miles cruising at 12 knots. Armed with a single 30mm naval gun, OPV(H) will be capable of operating helicopters up to EH101 Merlin size. The vessel is qualified for operation of Merlin, Lynx or Sea King helicopters. She will need only a crew of 34/36 (6 officers and 30 enlisted + 20 extra personnel) compared with 51 in the Castle-class.
In September 2005, VT Group awarded BAE Systems a contract fro the supply of combat management system and air surveillance radar for the Offshore Patrol Vessel (Helicopter) OPV(H). The equipment to be provided by BAE Systems was the combat management system CMS-1 and the Terma SCANTER 4100 air surveillance radar. CMS-1 was originally developed to outfit the Type 45 destroyer.
The OPV(H) vessel was named HMS Clyde in a ceremony held at Portsmouth on September 7, 2006. HMS Clyde was scheduled for delivery to the Royal Navy in October 2006. The ship is owned by VT Group and is chartered to the UK MoD for a five-year period that could be either extended after its expiration, purchased by the MoD or returned to VT Group.
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