According to a UK Ministry of Defence article published on July 24, 2020, a £9.9 million contract has been signed with Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology (MST) for two new boats to replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft.
The six-year contract, which will support 30 jobs and create a further 25, will see construction of the two boats beginning in July 2020 and will take approximately 18 months, with Boat 1 due to be delivered in Q3 2021/22 and Boat 2 in Q1 2022/23.
The remainder of the contract will provide an additional four years of local In-Service Support.
Both boats will be used to patrol HMNB Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).
They will also support British exercises and operations in the area and will keep close watch over Gibraltar’s shores.
Putting technological advancement at the fore, the vessels will demonstrate UK sovereignty of Gibraltar as well as providing force protection to designated visiting UK and Allied military vessels.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:
“These new vessels will enable the Royal Navy to maintain the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and protect British, NATO and Allied ships transiting through the region.
“This contract will also support highly skilled jobs across the UK which clearly demonstrates how national security and regional prosperity go hand in hand.”
The two new boats will replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft, HMS Pursuer and Dasher. These two Archer-class vessels very recently took over from HMS SABRE and HMS SCIMITAR, the Scimitar Class vessels that had been in service in Gibraltar for 17 years.
The vessels are being built at MST’s boatyard on Merseyside and has created 25 new jobs as well as sustaining 30 current jobs as part of the £9.9 million contract.
Mark Milsom, Project Manager for DE&S Boats Team, said:
“There has been a British Armed Forces presence in Gibraltar for more than a hundred years and these boats will ensure we maintain an important capability to the Royal Navy and our armed forces, as well as playing a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting domestic waters and supporting maritime interests.
“These boats will provide the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron with a modern, fast and effective capability for fulfilling their important role.”
The featured photo: Fast Patrol Craft in Gibraltar. Crown copyright