Babcock International has officially started the construction of HMS Venturer, the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) first of five  Inspiration-class Type 31 frigates.

The start of construction was marked by a keel laying ceremony held at Babcock’s Venturer Hall at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland.

The milestone follows the steel cutting event held in September last year.

The company was contracted by the UK Government to build five Inspiration-class Type 31 frigates for the RN.

Construction of the frigates is also the part of the government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, with around $5.31bn (£4bn) investment for the first three years.

The investment is also expected to support nearly 2,500 jobs through the UK supply chain and at Babcock’s facility, along with 150 additional apprenticeships.

UK Royal Navy acquisition director rear admiral Paul Marshall said: “The short seven months between HMS Venturer’s first steel being cut and her keel being laid demonstrates the continuing pace of the Type 31 programme building on cutting edge processes, skills and facilities in Scotland and the UK which should ensure that the RN gets the capability it needs on time.”

The new frigates will be equipped with one 57mm gun, two 40mm secondary guns, three Pacific 24 boats and Sea Ceptor air defence missiles, with off-the-shelf sensors and computer systems.

Type 31 frigates will replace the current fleet of RN’s Type 23 general-purpose frigates.

Each 6,000t Type 31 frigate is larger than the Type 23 ships and are slightly shorter than the eight Type 26 City-class frigates, including HMS Glasgow, being constructed at Govan, Scotland.

Works related to the second frigate, HMS Active, is also expected to start next year at the Venturer Hall, which can allow the construction of two ships simultaneously.

The other three Type 31 frigates are HMS Bulldog, HMS Formidable and HMS Campbeltown.

Furthermore, the Polish and Indonesian Navies have also selected the Type 31 design for their future fleets.