LONDON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- BAE Systems in Britain reports it has started support and maintenance work on Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels.
The work on the River-class ships comes under a new $36.3 million, five-year contract, which continues years of company maintenance of the vessels.
River-class OPVs are about 261 feet long, have a speed of 20 knots and have a range of 7,800 nautical miles when traveling at 12 knots per hour. They are armed with a 20mm gun and two machine guns.
They are used primarily primary for fishery protection, environmental protection, search and rescue and maritime security.
The maintenance contract, awarded in the fourth quarter of last year, will provide the Royal Navy with 320 operationally available days per ship per year, BAE Systems said.
"This contract award is recognition that our support of the River Class OPVs will be a value for money service," said Richard Dingley, fleet services director, BAE Systems Maritime Services. "The Royal Navy can be assured that the high ship availability we have achieved over the last 10 will continue.
"I am delighted that we have won the contract in competition to deliver this highly regarded service."
BAE Systems credited "strong partnering" relationships with ship crew, Britain's Ministry of Defense and the A&G Group for its successful maintenance work on the patrol boats.
In a related development, BAE Systems announced the signing of a $9.9 million contract for support of other Royal Navy ships.
The contract is an extension to an existing Phase Two service contract for Class Output Management and Design Management Services for through life, global support.
The Class Output Management and Design Services Teams are responsible for providing a one stop shop of support to HMS Illustrious, the Hunt Class and the Type 23 Class warships as part of the Ship Support Alliance between industry participants and the Ministry of Defense. It is the same system used for the River-class boats.
BAE Systems said it provides "class focus by bringing together ship support roles across industry, MOD and the Royal Navy to work together in a single team and act as a single point of contact for ships at the waterfront."
"Our aims are to deliver improvement, efficiencies and flexibility to equipment design and class management activities with a primary aim to provide the required warship availability to support the Royal Navy's operational needs." it said. "We deliver available platforms in a sustainable and cost effective manner."
Use of the Class Output Management and Design Management Services has saved the Ministry of Defense more than $99 million in ship maintenance costs, the company said.