Babcock International has started construction work on the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) second of five Inspiration-class or Type 31 frigate, named HMS Active.

The milestone was marked by a steel-cutting ceremony held at the company’s Venturer Hall site in Rosyth, UK.

It was attended by several dignitaries and senior officials from the UK RN and the Ministry of Defence, including Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk, who performed the traditional steel cut on the 5,700t vessel.

Chalk said: “We should be very proud of achieving another milestone in the Type 31 programme, which will deliver key warships for RN, and continue to support British industry through national shipbuilding.”

Associated work and assembling of HMS Active will be carried out at Venturer Hall, which can simultaneously support construction of two ships.

Following the assembling work, Active will be brought to hardstanding for forward and aft masts’ fitting work before the final launch and commissioning.

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Work on first Type 31 vessel, named HMS Venturer, began in September 2021 at the same site, followed by its keel-laying in April 2022. Babcock has already installed the two engine sets on Venturer and will now consolidate the ship’s hull. 

Other three Inspiration-class vessels, HMS Formidable, Bulldog and Campbeltown, are yet to be constructed by Babcock. The company is expected to hand over all the vessels to the RN by the end of 2028.

This fleet construction work will further support nearly 1,250 highly skilled jobs and 150 apprenticeship opportunities at Babcock.

The new vessels, equipped with Sea Ceptor system, 4D radar, a 57mm and two 40mm Bofors guns, will be deployed to perform various operations, including maritime security, humanitarian aid, air defence, and submarine hunting missions.