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First steel cut for Type 31 frigate HMS Venturer by Babcock


According to a press release published by Babcock on September 23, 2021, the aerospace, defense, and security company, was joined by UK Secretary of State for Defence and Shipbuilding Tsar, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP to cut the first steel for the first of the Royal Navy’s five new Type 31 frigates, HMS VENTURER.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the Type 31 frigate (Picture source: Twitter account of AC_NavalHistory)


Hosted at Babcock’s facility in Rosyth, Scotland, where the Type 31 Inspiration class ships are being built, representatives from across the UK and international industry and public service, witnessed the historic ceremony signaling the official start of the building program alongside employees and representatives from the local community.

The frigates will be at the heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, deterring aggression and maintaining the security of the UK’s interests as well as providing humanitarian relief when needed. The frigates will work alongside the UK’s Allies to deliver a warship presence across the globe and enable a forward naval presence.

The symbolic first cut of steel for HMS VENTURER was conducted at Babcock’s new advanced manufacturing facility, a cornerstone of the company’s digital transformation at Rosyth, which includes panel lines with robotic welding capability, as well as other semi-automated manufacturing machines.

The technology, based on modern shipbuilding practices, enables Babcock to increase automation and create significant efficiencies in the build schedule.

The event comes just one week after Babcock announced that it had secured the first export contract for its Arrowhead 140 frigate (the export variant of the UK Type 31 platform) through a design license agreement with PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) for two frigates. The company has also been shortlisted as one of the bidders to provide a potential design solution for Poland’s Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate program.

The event also saw Babcock’s new assembly hall named ‘The Venturer Building’ – paying homage to the first new class of frigates to be built in the facility.

This vast structure measuring 147m x 62m x 42m is capable of housing two Type 31 frigates for parallel build and assembly activity. It will enable uninterrupted assembly, supporting increased productivity gains through improved access and digital connectivity.

The new infrastructure forms part of a £60 million investment program on the site, on top of a further £100 million that has been invested over the last decade to ensure Rosyth’s shipbuilding capability and capacity can be optimized with state of the art engineering infrastructure and digital innovation to support further opportunities.

The Type 31 frigate or Inspiration class, and formerly known as the Type 31e frigate or General Purpose Frigate (GPF), is a planned class of frigate intended to enter service with the United Kingdom's Royal Navy in the 2020s alongside the submarine-hunting Type 26 frigate. Designed by Babcock International, it is also marketed under the name Arrowhead 140 and was based on the hull of the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate.

It is intended that the Type 31 frigate will replace some of the general-purpose Type 23 frigates. Type 31 is part of the British government's "National Shipbuilding Strategy".