THE first of the five new River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels has been officially named during a ceremony at BAE Systems’ site at Scotstoun.

Guests watched as Mrs Johnstone-Burt, the ship’s sponsor and wife of Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, named the 1,800 tonne, 90-metre-long vessel HMS Forth.

In keeping with tradition, Mrs Johnstone-Burt smashed a bottle of locally-distilled whisky from the Deanston Distillery near Stirling, which is the city affiliated with HMS Forth, against the ship’s hull.

Iain Stevenson, managing director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “The naming ceremony is an immensely proud occasion for each and every person involved in the design and manufacture of HMS Forth for the Royal Navy.

“It’s easy to forget that the she started life as a flat plate of steel in the winter of 2014, yet two years later she is afloat at Scotstoun, with the latest technologies and combat management systems, ready to depart for sea trials later this year.”

Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, added: “As part of a sustained programme delivering world-class ships and submarines, HMS Forth’s naming is a vitally important part of the government’s 10-year £178 billion plan to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need.

“From counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean, to securing the UK’s borders on patrols closer to home, the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels will help protect our interests around the world.”

HMS Forth will embark for sea trials where she will be put through her paces in the open waters off the coasts of Scotland, before beginning her service with the Royal Navy next year with a crew of 58 in tow.