EXCLUSIVE: Behind The Scenes Of The Royal Navy's Newest Ship

Forces News has been given exclusive access on board the Royal Navy's newest ship.

HMS Forth was handed to the senior service by her builders on Monday when she arrived into her home port of Portsmouth.

The ship was formally accepted into the Royal Navy earlier this year.

HMS Forth is the first of the Batch 2 River-class patrol vessels, able to spend 320 days a year on operations including counter-piracy, border patrol and counter-terrorism, and the first of the new Offshore Patrol Vessel fleet.

Thirty feet longer than other ships in the River class, the ship is build with extra capacity on board, with a flight deck and space for a large crew.

If needed, there is room for personnel such as the Royal Marines to join the ship.

"It's nice, comfortable, big open space so everybody's not cramped," says Able Seaman Dominic Saunders.

"En-suite, which is very handy, I have to admit!"

HMS Forth flight deck
The flight deck on board the Batch 2 patrol vessel, capable of holding a Merlin helicopter.

Chief Petty Officer Jamie Dougal is part of the engineering team and says he is impressed with HMS Forth:

"It's a lot more modern to what I've been used to, the Type 23 frigate.

"The accommodation is a lot more forthcoming, the systems, more up to date technology, the main engines, and generally the living conditions on board the ship."

The ship has been designed and built to enable lean manning - just 34 crew can set to sea out of a crew of 60, meaning rotation and time at home.

"Everything has got computers behind it, and it allows us to reduce our bridge profile dramatically," says navigation officer, Lieutenant Thomas Sleight.

"We do four weeks at sea, two weeks at home and thats planned for the entire year.

"As a crew members joins we'll give them that rotation period, and they know exactly when they'll be at home and they can rely on that."

HMS Forth will be used for everyone from fisheries protection and coastal patrolling to long deployment overseas.

The ship's commanding officer, Commander Bob Laverty, says he sees the vessel being "a comfortable home" for crew for the next 30 years.

HMS Forth’s first deployment will see her head to the Falklands to take over patrol duties from HMS Clyde.