Steel has been cut for the second of five Type 31 frigates being constructed in Scotland to take their place at the heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. During a ceremony at Rosyth dockyard today, Defence minister Alex Chalk cut steel for HMS Active in the presence of dignitaries including Second Sea Lord and veterans who served on its Type 21 namesake during the Falklands Conflict. The traditional shipbuilding ceremony follows the cut of steel on the first in class vessel HMS Venturer, by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in September 2021. Rosyth Dockyard is a large naval dockyard on the Firth of Forth at Rosyth, Fife, Scotland, owned by Babcock Marine.
A further 1,250 roles in the UK supply chain are also expected to be supported by the programme. Deemed the lead programme of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the construction of the fleet will support around 1,250 highly-skilled jobs at Babcock and see the creation of an additional 150 apprenticeships. Additionally, Babcock has created 250 new roles which are targeted at people who are not currently in education, employment, or training. These Production Support Operative (PSO) positions will be recruited in collaboration with Fife Council, Fife College and local employability programmes. The contract for the frigates was placed by the Type 31 delivery team at DE&S.
Type 31 vessels, which will be able to house a RN helicopter, will benefit from innovative technology and will be fitted with advanced capability including Thales’ combat management system, MBDA’s Sea Ceptor, a supersonic anti-air missile defence system, complimented by a 57mm and two 40mm Bofors naval guns and a 4D radar system. This will allow this agile frigate fleet to engage in a range of operational roles including Defence engagement, interception and disruption of illegal maritime activity and humanitarian support. The flexibility of the Type 31 design also allows the frigate to be adapted throughout its lifetime to meet the threats posed by an ever-evolving Defence landscape.
Known as the Inspiration class, the five Type 31 vessels all take their names from former warships and submarines whose missions and history are intended to inspire Royal Navy operations, as well as a representation of its future vision. HMS Venturer and Active are now under construction, with the three remaining ships in the Class named HMS Formidable, HMS Bulldog and HMS Campbeltown. HMS Active will be assembled within the Venturer Hall, a purpose built facility capable of housing two T31 vessels for parallel build and assembly, before being brought out onto the hardstanding for fitting of the Fwd and Aft Masts prior to launch and commissioning. Babcock is contracted to deliver all five T31 frigates to the MOD by the end of 2028.