HMS Clyde, the first warship to be launched in Portsmouth Naval Base for almost 40 years, was commissioned into the Royal Navy at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base on Thursday 5 July 2007.
Clyde, an 80m-long enhanced River-class ship designed to patrol the waters of the Falkland Islands, has been undergoing trials and sea training since her launch at VT Group's shipbuilding facility in the Base just under a year ago.
The ceremony included a religious service and the cutting of the traditional commissioning cake by Mrs Andrea Hopper, wife of HMS Clyde's Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Hopper, and the youngest member of the 40-strong ship's company, Able Seaman David Maund, aged 22. Music was provided by the Royal Marines Band, Portsmouth.
Guest of honour was Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, a Falklands War veteran and now Chief of Staff (Capability) to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet. Also present was the ship's sponsor, Mrs Lesley Dunt, wife of Vice Admiral Sir Peter Dunt (Retired), and the Naval Base Commander, Commodore David Steel. The ceremony was sponsored by VT Shipbuilding and Commodore Sir Donald Gosling RNR.
HMS Clyde's Commanding Officer, Cdr Simon Hopper said:
"I appreciated from day one that the first ship built in Portsmouth for years would be special. But I didn't realise until the naming ceremony what it really meant to the people of the dockyard and businesses in the city and in Portsmouth.
"Clyde is a 21st century ship. Using industry and best practice is the way forward."
HMS Clyde will spend the next few weeks undergoing aviation training, and is due to leave for the Falkland Islands in mid-August 2007 to relieve HMS Dumbarton Castle. She will remain there for at least five years.
Clyde is a highly capable and versatile vessel, with the ability to operate a variety of helicopters from her flight deck. She has air and surface surveillance radars and has a 30mm gun mounting. Besides her normal ship's company, she has accommodation for an embarked military force.
One of the features of the ship is that she is owned and will be maintained by VT Group and chartered to the Ministry of Defence for five years. At the end of that time, the MOD will have the option to extend the charter, return the ship or purchase her outright.
So, without needing to make capital expenditure, the Royal Navy has one modern ship to replace two older vessels - Dumbarton Castle and the former Leeds Castle, the latter having already been decommissioned. Clyde will be able to operate for 282 days of the year, thanks to a system of crew rotation and maintenance carried out in the region with the support of Portsmouth Naval Base.
Source: Ceremony marks commissioning for HMS Clyde
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