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British Navy HMS Mersey River-class offshore patrol vessel works with NATO task group.

| 2020

According to information published by the British Navy, on August 7, 2020, the HMS Mersey, a River-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Navy has worked with a NATO task group and the debut saw Mersey train with warships from Portugal and Canada in the North Sea as part of one of alliance’s high readiness forces.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British Navy HMCS Toronto (FFH 333) River-class Offshore patrol vessel OPV. (Picture source British navy)

The Offshore Patrol Ship combined with Vasco da Gama-class frigate NRP Corte-Real and Halifax-class frigate HMCS Toronto for long-range communications exercises, tactical maneuvering drills and flying training with the task group’s helicopters.

Mersey joined the group, known as Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), in the Skaggerak – the doorway from the North Sea into the Baltic – and jointly completed the first week of their operational training program.

SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various Allied countries. These task groups form the core maritime capabilities of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). They provide a continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions across the spectrum of operations, demonstrate solidarity, and strengthen diplomatic and professional links among Allied naval forces.

SNMG1 includes the flagship guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), the Royal Norwegian Navy Fridjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F-314), the Belgian Navy Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930), and the Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334).

The HMS Mersey is a River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the British Royal Navy. She was built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton to serve as a fishery protection vessel within the United Kingdom's waters along with her two sister ships Tyne and Severn. All three were commissioned into service in 2003 to replace the five older Island-class patrol vessels.

The River-class OPV is powered by two Ruston 12 RK 270 medium speed diesel engines, rated at 4,125 kW, 1,000 rpm, which drive twin controllable pitch propellers. She can sail at a maximum speed 200 knots (37 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 5,500 nmi. (10,200 km). It has a crew f 20.

The River-class OPV is armed with Oerlikon one 20 mm automatic cannon and two 7.62 machine guns.

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