Work has started on the fifth ship in a fleet of new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) being built for the Royal Navy.
The first sheet of steel was cut for HMS Spey at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde.
The vessel will be built in Govan before being transferred to the Scotstoun yard, where she will be fitted out for operations.
Tony Douglas, chief executive officer for Defence Equipment and Support, an arm’s-length body of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), pressed the button to begin the cutting process on Friday.
He said: “The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme; today’s steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too.
“I am looking forward to continuing this long-standing and close relationship when we begin manufacturing for the Type 26 fleet later in the summer.”
Work to build the fleet is sustaining 800 jobs and skills needed to build the fleet of next-generation Type 26 Frigates, which will begin construction at Govan in the summer.
HMS Spey is one of two ships being built under a £287 million agreement signed between the MoD and BAE Systems in December 2016.
She is expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019 and enter service by 2021.
The vessel follows in the footsteps of sister ships HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar.
Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “The start of work on HMS Spey, the fifth offshore patrol vessel, is another milestone in a significant programme of work which is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Scotland and the vital shipbuilding skills needed to build the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Frigates.
“The ongoing successful delivery of these ships is a key element of the government’s ten-year, £178 billion equipment plan to provide the UK’s armed forces with the kit they deserve.”