HMS Cutlass, a £5 million fast patrol boat, has been formally handed over to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron after three months of trials, ready for being declared fully operational in the spring.
With HMS Dagger due to arrive on the Rock later this year, Cutlass will be the backbone of the squadron, replacing the two P2000s temporarily assigned to Gibraltar, Dasher and Pursuer.
Cutlass has been in Gibraltar since November 2021, carrying out key sea trials ahead of her formal transfer into RN hands.
With a top speed of 40 knots, the new boats, built by Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology, are twice as fast as the P2000s, and are smaller, nimbler and equipped with the latest optical and infra-red systems, enabling crew to identify and track potential threats at range.
Unlike Dasher and Pursuer, both of which are nearly 35 years old, many of the systems on board are autonomous, helping the crew in her operation, maintenance and response to any unforeseen incidents.
Cutlass’ first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Colman, said:
“We are delighted that HMS Cutlass has proven her capability during the manufacturer’s trials and she is now ready to begin the Royal Navy safety and readiness checks. She increases the squadron’s capability in providing maritime security and demonstrating UK sovereignty of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.”