Babcock announces keel laying of the first of five new RN Type 31 frigates, HMS Venturer, at its Rosyth facility in Scotland. It will be fully constructed over the coming months and, alongside it from next year, will be the second ship in the class — HMS Active.
After cutting the first steel in September 2021, the keel laying event formally recognised the start of the build. Construction will occur in the Venturer Building, which will house two frigates for parallel assemblies.
The Type 31 programme is an important part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy for ‘a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding enterprise, which was refreshed last month. Eight ships were designated for anti-submarine warfare, which became the Type 26 programme, and five were designated for light general-purpose operations, which became the Type 31.
The Type 31 frigate programme is a step in the Government's plan to increase the number of warships in the Royal Navy over the coming decades. This specific class of surface warship is expected to first enter service with the Royal Navy by 2027, and replace the Type 23 frigates. Regarding weaponry, the Type 31s will also have a 57mm gun, plus two 40mm guns, as well as being fitted with the Sea Ceptor missile system.
The Navy said in 2020 that BAE Systems would be producing Bofors 40 Mk4 and Bofors 57 Mk3 naval guns for the frigates. Each ship is set to come with three Pacific 24 boats, which the Navy says are used for board and search tasks as well as counter-narcotics work. On the flight deck, there will be room to host helicopters as large as the Chinook, although the Navy says the vessels will more likely work with Merlins and Wildcats. There will be room for a crew of 187 personnel on each ship.