Archer class patrol vessel

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HMS Smiter
Class overview
Builders:Watercraft Marine
Vosper Thornycroft
Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
Operators:United Kingdom Royal Navy
General characteristics
Type: patrol / training vessels
Displacement: 49 tons (Raider, Tracker; 54 tons)
Length: 20.8 m
Beam: 5.8 m
Draught: 1.8 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts, Rolls Royce M800T diesels, 1,590 bhp (Tracker, Raider; MTU V12 diesels)
Speed: 14 knots (Tracker, Raider; 22 knots)(Hull designed to reach 45 knots (83 km/h), but limited due to the type of engine fitted)
Range: 550 nmi (1,020 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 5 (RN), 1 training officer (RNR), 12 students (URNU) or 12 (RN)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Decca 1216 navigation radar
Armament: 3 x 7.62 mm L7 GPMG (Cyprus Sqn.) (can be fitted with 20 mm cannon on fo'c'sle)
File:Hmscharger hmstrumpeter arp.jpg
University Royal Naval Unit Archer class HMS Charger (P292) and HMS Trumpeter (P294) in 2004. The vessels peacetime role is to train university students in navigation and seamanship.

The Archer-class is a class of patrol and training vessels in service with the British Royal Navy (RN), commonly referred to as a Fast Training Boat.[1]

History & operations

Ten vessels were ordered as the P2000 class, based on a design of an Omani coastguard cutter, from Watercraft Marine. They are twin-shaft vessels with moulded glass-reinforced plastic hulls. After that company went into liquidation, the balance of the order was completed by Vosper Thornycroft.

The Archers were initially used as RN patrol craft and as training tenders for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and University Royal Naval Units (URNU). Four identical vessels were ordered for the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (RNXS) as Example-class tenders. When that service was disbanded in 1994, the Examples were transferred to the RN for similar duties as their Archer-class brethren (under the same names under which they served as "XSVs", all of which begin with the first syllable "Ex"). Until 2005, the 4 Examples were still painted with a black hull.

In 1998 two additional vessels (Raider and Tracker) of this design were commissioned into the RN from Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, to replace HMS Loyal Watcher and Loyal Chancellor as URNU training vessels to the two newest URNUs, serving Cambridge and Oxford Universities respectively. This brought the total of Archer class vessels in the RN to 16, all of which are assigned to the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS) (formerly the Inshore Training Squadron). Since 1991, 14 have been attached to URNUs (one per unit) under the command of a Lieutenant, RN. The remaining 2 vessels( Pursuer and Dasher), having formed the Cyprus Squadron from 2003 to 2010, and URNU vessels before that[2], returned to the UK in April 2010 to perform security duties within HMNB Clyde - these can be identified by a number of pintle-mounted L7 7.62 mm GPMG machine guns and armour plating. Ranger and Trumpeter were also formerly allocated to the Gibraltar Squadron for guard ship and search and rescue duties, but were replaced by the dedicated Scimitar-class. Unlike the remainder of the class, both these ships remain capable of being mounted with a 20mm cannon on the fo'c'sle.

The NATO designation of a P2000 is "PBR", denoting a "Patrol Boat - Riverine and Harbours".


Name Pennant Builder Commissioned Deployment (2010)
Archer P264 Watercraft Marine, Shoreham-by-Sea 1985 Aberdeen URNU
Biter P270 Watercraft 1986 Manchester URNU
Smiter P272 Watercraft 1988 Glasgow URNU
Pursuer P273 Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston 1988 HMNB Clyde Duties
Blazer P279 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Southampton URNU
Dasher P280 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 HMNB Clyde Duties
Puncher P291 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 London URNU
Charger P292 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Liverpool URNU
Ranger P293 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Sussex URNU
Trumpeter P294 Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Bristol URNU
Example (ex-XSV Example) P165 (ex-A153) Watercraft 1985 Northumbrian URNU
Explorer (ex-XSV Explorer) P164(ex-A154) Watercraft 1986 Yorkshire URNU
Express (ex-XSV Express) P163 (ex-A163) Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Wales URNU
Exploit (ex-XSV Exploit) P167 (ex-A167) Vosper Thornycroft 1988 Birmingham URNU
Tracker P274 Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, Troon 1998 Oxford URNU
Raider P275 Alisa 1998 Cambridge URNU

See also


  1. "Ships of the Royal Navy - Archer Class Patrol and Training Vessel". Retrieved 25 March 2010. "An interesting quirk of the Archer class is that although the regular crew have their own cabins, the Midshipmen sleep in the gun-room. Traditionally this is where midshipmen have always been berthed but in the Archer class it is literally true as they sleep in the magazine of the Archer class. Since such trips only occur in times of peace, the gun which an Archer class vessel is capable of carrying is not fitted and so there is no other use for the magazine." 
  2. PURSUER was allocated to Sussex URNU, DASHER to Bristol URNU. Replaced by RANGER and TRUMPETER respectively in 2004


  • Britain's Modern Royal Navy, Paul Beaver, Patrick Stephens Limited, 1996, ISBN 1-85260-442-5
  • Today's Royal Navy in Colour, Jeremy Flack, Greenwich Editions, 1996, ISBN 0-86288-089-0

External links