The Royal Navy’s newest vessel HMS Tamar has raised the White Ensign from her deck for the first time and takes her place as a Fleet warship. Uniquely conducting the ceremony on her namesake, the River Tamar, the very distinctive Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV), bears two rampant red lions either side of her superstructure, representing her close affiliations with both Devon and Cornwall. Over the past few weeks, the ship has been operating around Plymouth Sound and the South West sea training areas, carrying out her acceptance trials and a series of firsts for the ship and her crew.
HMS Tamar also has the distinction for being the ‘Greenest Ship in the Royal Navy’ – fitted with ‘catalytic converters’ which reduce nitrogen-based emissions from her engine exhausts by up to 95 per cent. She weighs in at 2,000 tonnes, has a 6,000 mile range and a flight deck capable of carrying a Merlin helicopter. She also has accommodation for up to 50 Royal Marines Commandos and is considered by her crew as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Royal Navy vessels. These has included the first helicopter landing – a Wildcat from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, her first gunnery exercises, as well as boat drills and emergency exercises, that has put the crew through their paces.
HMS Tamar is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Navy. Named after the River Tamar in England, this is the seventh Royal Navy ship to be named Tamar. She is the fourth Batch 2 River-class vessel to be built and was formally commissioned on 4 June 2020. The Ministry of Defence stated that the Batch 2 ships are capable of being used for constabulary duties such as “counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations”. Tamar includes some 29 modifications and enhancements over the Amazonas-class corvette built by BAE Systems for the Brazilian Navy. Tamar was lowered into the water on 10 October 2018. The vessel began operational sea trials in late 2019.
On 6 November 2013 it was announced that the Royal Navy had signed an Agreement in Principle to build three new offshore patrol vessels, based on the River-class design, at a fixed price of £348 million including spares and support. In August 2014, BAE Systems signed the contract to build the ships on the Clyde in Scotland. According to BAE Systems, the vessels are designed to deploy globally, conducting anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling tasks currently conducted by frigates and destroyers. A £287m order, for two further ships, including Tamar, and support for all five Batch 2 ships, was announced on 8 December 2016.