, the first ship to be built in Portsmouth Naval Base for nearly 40 years, was named on Thursday 7 September 2006. The new (H) will be officially accepted by the British MOD in October 2006. The vessel is destined to be the ship for the Falkland Islands. She is expected to deploy to the South Atlantic next Spring – around the time of the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
One of the unique features of the ship is that she is owned by VT Group and chartered to the Ministry of Defence for a period of five years. At the end of that period, the MOD can either extend the charter, return the ship or purchase her outright. Similar River Class vessels already in service and built by VT. They are used for fishery protection work around the UK coast.
Among the ship’s enhanced features compared to the River Class is a flight deck capable of accepting helicopters up to the size of the new Merlin aircraft. Other enhancements include increased accommodation to cater for an embarked force, a 30mm gun, higher levels of survivability and air surveillance radar.
will accommodate a crew of 36 (six officers, nine senior rates and 21 junior rates), berthed in single or twin berth cabins with en suite facilities. There will be additional accommodation for up to 20 extra personnel, which could be an embarked military force, trainees or headquarters staff.