The first of a new class of ships to be built for the Royal Navy officially started construction on September 23 with a steel-cutting ceremony at Babcock’s Rosyth yard.
Future HMS Venturer is the first of a total of five general-purpose Type 31 frigates that will be replacing an equal number of general-purpose Type 23 frigates, which have served the Royal Navy since the early 1990s.
Deemed the lead program of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the construction of the fleet will support around 1,250 jobs at Babcock and see the creation of an additional 150 apprenticeships.
“Today is a momentous occasion for the Type 31 program, defense and the shipbuilding industry in Scotland. 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 are, is a tremendous honor,” Shipbuilding Tsar and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Based on the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates Odense Maritime Technology (OMT) designed for the Royal Danish Navy, the Type 31 ships will also be known as the Inspiration class, taking their names from former warships and submarines whose missions and history are intended to inspire Royal Navy operations. The four remaining ships in the class were recently announced as HMS Active, HMS Formidable, HMS Bulldog and HMS Campbeltown.
The Type 31 will be equipped with innovative technology and will benefit from advanced capabilities fitted onboard, including MBDA’s Sea Ceptor, a supersonic anti-air missile defense system, as well as a 57mm and two 40mm Bofors naval guns, a 4D radar system and able to house a Royal Navy helicopter.
According to the MoD, the entire Type 31 fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 and to enter service with the Royal Navy by the end of 2030, with the first expected in the water in 2023.
Type 31 will carry a crew of up to 105 that will be deployed on duties around the world, working alongside new Type 26 frigates.
Constructed in 1942, the original HMS Venturer was a World War Two V-class submarine that most notably was the first to sink another submarine, a German U-boat, while both were submerged using its technological and intelligence advantage over the enemy. Almost 80 years later since construction started on the original HMS Venturer, its Type 31 depiction draws on its historical achievements and aims to promote the Royal Navy’s technological and innovative forward-look.
During the steel-cutting ceremony, Defence Secretary Wallace also unveiled a plaque to mark the formal commissioning of Babcock’s new Assembly Hall. As part of a wider £35 million site investment by Babcock, the digitized facility will be capable of housing two Type 31 vessels alongside each other during their build phase.