Steel has been cut for the first of five Type 31 frigates developed for the Royal Navy.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Defence and Shipbuilding Tsar, Ben Wallace, was joined by defence contractor Babcock to cut steel for the first of five Royal Navy Type 31 frigates, HMS Venturer.
The ceremony, attended by a number of private and public sector stakeholders, was held at Babcock’s facility in Rosyth, Scotland, where the Type 31 Inspiration Class ships will be built.
The steel cut came just one week after Babcock announced the receipt of the first export contract for its Arrowhead 140 frigate — the export variant of the UK Type 31 platform — through a design licence agreement with PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) for two frigates.
Babcock has also been shortlisted to provide a potential design solution for Poland’s Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate program.
The company has also officially opened its new assembly hall, dubbed ‘The Venturer Building’, measuring 147 metres x 62 metres x 42 metres.
The facility is capable of housing two Type 31 frigates for parallel build and assembly activity, and is expected to enable uninterrupted assembly.
“This is a significant moment. We are witnessing what the National Shipbuilding strategy can achieve,” Babcock CEO David Lockwood said.
“Working with our partners and customers, we are creating something we can all be very proud of. The T31 Class will show the adaptability and capability of a modern warship created with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. I’m looking forward to seeing these magnificent vessels emerge from our newly-named Venturer Building.”
Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Tsar Ben Wallace said the steel cut was a “momentous occasion” for the Type 31 program.
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“As Shipbuilding Tsar, to cut the steel for the first of five new frigates that will be constructed here on our shores in the Firth of the Forth, providing jobs and innovation to the area, is a tremendous honour,” Wallace said.
“Equipped with the technologies at the forefront of the Royal Navy’s future vision, the entire Type 31 fleet will be fitted with a range of capabilities allowing it to undertake a variety of operations at sea.”
[Related: Babcock wins £110m UK defence contract]