Babcock International has marked the start of construction of the British Royal Navy’s first Type 31 frigate with a steel cutting ceremony at its Rosyth dockyard in Scotland.

The first cut of steel was officially carried out by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace at Babcock’s new advanced manufacturing facility.

Wallace said: “Today is a momentous occasion for the Type 31 programme, Defence 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 area, is a tremendous honour.

“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.”

The company is under contract to build five new Type 31 ships for the UK Navy at an average cost of £250m per vessel.

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In May this year, Royal Navy head First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin announced the names of the five Type 31s, which will be known as Inspiration-class ships.

The first vessel is named ‘HMS Venturer’.

The Type 31 frigate is the UK variant of the Arrowhead 140 (AH140) baseline design developed by Babcock and its partners.

All five ships are expected to be delivered by 2028.

The fleet’s construction is expected to support some 1,250 highly skilled jobs at Babcock and create an additional 150 apprenticeships.

It is also expected to support an additional 1,250 UK supply chain roles.

Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: “This is a significant moment. We are witnessing what the National Shipbuilding strategy can achieve. 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.”