Tag Archives: Type 31 frigate

Type 31 frigate

Babcock has started construction of the first of five Royal Navy Type 31 frigates, HMS Venturer, at its Rosyth facility.

HMS Venturer
Keel laying for Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate showcases Babcock workforce

After cutting the first steel on the programme in September 2021, the traditional keel laying event formally recognised the start of the build, including placing a specially commissioned coin under the keel. On completion of the ship, the coin will be presented to the captain and crew.

The ceremony was held in the new build hall, the Venturer Building, which forms part of a £60 million investment programme, on top of an additional £100 million over the last ten years.

The fully covered hall will house two frigates for uninterrupted, parallel assembly and will support increased productivity gains through improved access to the platforms and digital connectivity.

All of this underpins Rosyth’s shipbuilding capabilities and maximises the benefits of state-of-the-art engineering infrastructure and digital innovation.

The Type 31 programme is an important part of the shipbuilding pipeline set out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy that was refreshed last month.  The strategy’s stated vision for ‘a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding enterprise’ is being borne out in Rosyth, with the company investing in and accelerating its ship building prowess and ambitions.

Guests from the Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence and other partners joined Babcock at the event and watched a short film celebrating the role of Rosyth’s workforce. Showcasing its We are Delivering Inspiration theme, Babcock shone a spotlight on the talent and motivations of team members working on the programme and how they are helping to progress the build.

The event comes just over one month since Babcock secured its second export contract for its Arrowhead 140 frigate (the export variant of the UK Type 31 platform) with the company announced as the platform design provider and technology partner for Poland’s MIECZNIK (Swordfish) new frigate programme. Babcock had previously secured a design licence agreement with PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) to enable PAL to build two Arrowhead 140 frigates in Indonesia with bespoke design modifications for the Indonesian Navy.

Sean Donaldson, Babcock Managing Director at Rosyth said: «The keel laying ceremony for the future HMS Venturer was a great occasion as we joined with our customer and colleagues to mark this milestone. It’s my privilege to work with this talented team each day and to witness their drive, determination and relentless pursuit of quality. A big well done to our competition winner Josh Duffy, who designed the coin that we had minted for the keel laying ceremony and whose mum works for Babcock at Rosyth and to our apprentices Ian Stevenson and Naimh Charleston for a flawless job laying down the coin».

Dan Bishop, Director Ships Acquisition DE&S said: «It’s great to be here today at the Type 31 Keel laying ceremony. This is a great example of successful delivery through co-operative working. The Royal Navy and DE&S worked in unison to set the Type 31 requirement and have successfully championed a new competitive procurement process – the first major warship procurement in a generation to meet this challenge. We’re really proud to work alongside Babcock to deliver this capability for the Royal Navy. Today marks a significant milestone in the programme for the Royal Navy, Defence and shipbuilding in Scotland and it’s great to see the first of the British military’s new Type 31 warships keel being laid at Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard».

Type 31 Design
Type 31 Design


Flexible and established systems

Arrowhead 140 offers a highly exportable capability, incorporating the world’s navies preferred combat systems, the best of UK naval systems technology and will bring into the UK additional naval capability through technology transfer, helping to sustain 1,500 roles in the UK and with the potential to create a further 500 new roles.

Combat Management System – Thales TACTICOS, sustainable in the UK through technology transfer, with a 25-year service history and already exported to 24 navies globally onto 182 different ships in over 42 classes. M-Cube is the version of TACTICOS already exported from the UK by Thales for Mine Hunting applications. TACTICOS’ six-monthly software upgrades and in-service support package deliver continuous evolution and growth in functionality, making Arrowhead 140 a flexible platform to meet changing needs over its lifetime. The productised approach reduces through life costs and will negate the need for upgrade through replacement. TACTICOS is scalable and its open architecture is certified. Its modularity means additional mission profiles such as Anti Air Warfare (AAW) or Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) can be integrated with ease.

Mast solutions and radars – over 230 systems in use with more than 20 navies, sustainable in the UK through technology transfer. These include the 4D AESA S-band Surveillance Radar: Thales’s NS100 dual-axis multi-beam family (23 radars sold in and outside NATO as of February 2019). These software-defined, fully digital surveillance radars are «future proof» and provide a leap forward in performance and technology, while retaining all the benefits from the ubiquitous best-selling 3D SMART-S single-axis multi-beam family (85 sold to 20 nations, including eight NATO member states).

Naval Communications solutions from Thales in the UK – leveraging our experience through providing integrated open architecture communications solutions fleet-wide use across 55 Royal Navy Platforms.

Electronic Warfare solutions from Thales in the UK – Arrowhead 140 will benefit from the latest world leading EW capability, Vigile D, developed by Thales in the UK and co-funded by the UK MOD to overcome the threats presented in the current congested EMC environment. Thales EW solutions are already in use with 40 navies worldwide.

Anti-Submarine Warfare – Thales in the UK is a global leader in the provision of sonar systems, as evidenced by the recent selection of the Thales 2087 sonar suite by the Royal Australian Navy. This will be a key offering for exports of Arrowhead 140. More than 50 surface ships are equipped with UK designed and delivered sonar solutions.

Lightweight Multi-role Missile – this missile has been designed and developed in the UK to combat the modern threats of UAVs and Fast Inshore Attack Craft, a next generation capability delivering a flexible, targeted and proportionate response. Already qualified by the Royal Navy for naval air platforms such as the AW159, its use in a surface-to-surface mode will be validated by the Royal Navy during 2019.

Babcock brings extensive experience of integrating Sea Ceptor, delivering Phalanx and the 4.5” Mk-8 Gun capability to the Royal Navy.


Key Platform Characteristics

Length Overall 138.7 m/455 feet
Beam, Maximum 19.8 m/65 feet
Design Draft 5.0 m/16.4 feet
Displacement 6,000+ t
Main Engine Power 32+ MW
Speed 28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h


Critical Design Review

Babcock Team 31 has successfully completed its Whole Ship Critical Design Review (WSCDR) which is a key indicator of the compliance, maturity and engineering risk in proceeding into production as we mature the 3D CAD model. The WSCDR was held virtually over a period of ten days and comprised of a large number of specific reviews to assess the maturity of the individual systems and equipment for the Type 31 Frigate.

Type 31 Frigate
Type 31 programme completes Whole Ship Critical Design Review

An independent board of twelve experts reviewed the design, interrogated the engineering team and provided valuable advice to Babcock (the Design Authority), with attendees and contributors from the UK Ministry of Defence. The board were pleased with the rate of progress made since the Preliminary Design Review in June 2020 and the level of technical maturity of the design, especially given the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19.

Completing the Whole Ship CDR provides Team 31 with the confidence to fully develop the 3D CAD model and move towards the generation of build drawings in readiness for first steel cut and ship assembly later this year. Production work at Rosyth has been underway since last year on construction of ship cradles, build stools and ground supports. These form part of the essential infrastructure required to enable construction, and are designed to support the vessels upright as they are being built.

The WSCDR is a significant milestone in the Type 31 programme and reflects the fantastic progress being made since contract award. The facilities and technology investment in Rosyth has got underway, with manufacturing bay refurbishments, the installation of state of the art advanced manufacturing equipment, and the New Assembly Hall will be completed towards the end of this summer before the start of ship assembly.

Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: «This is a real step change in capacity and capability at Rosyth which provides the UK with a world-class, future-ready, ship build facility. It’s an exciting time for UK industry with future opportunities emerging such as the recently announced Type 32 Frigate programme and international discussions increasing around the export of our proven and adaptable Arrowhead 140 design, with potential customers looking to the UK as the benchmark for their own programmes».

Team 31 has placed a large number of Supply Chain contracts to date representing nearly 80% of the value. The remaining supply chain contracts will be placed in line with the procurement plan, with the first major equipment deliveries due later this year.

Team 31 is currently operating across the UK in Rosyth, Bristol, Devonport and Crawley, growing and mobilising in readiness for ship assembly starting later this year. At the peak, approximately 1250 people will work on the programme across the UK.


Key Platform Characteristics

Length Overall 138.7 m/455 feet
Beam, Maximum 19.8 m/65 feet
Design Draft 5.0 m/16.4 feet
Displacement 6,000+ t
Main Engine Power 32+ MW/42,913 hp
Speed 28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h


Type 31 frigate

Team 31 has successfully completed its Whole Ship Preliminary Design Review (WSPDR) marking the end of the Engineering functional design phase. The review provides a key indicator of the compliance, maturity and engineering risk in proceeding into Detailed Design and maturing the 3D CAD model. The WSPDR was the whole ship culmination event of a large number of specific reviews which addressed the maturity of the individual systems comprising the Type 31 Ship.

Babcock Team 31 completes Whole Ship Preliminary Design Review

WSPDR was held, virtually, over a period of 10 days in June, using an independent board comprising around fifteen subject matter experts, to review the design and interrogate the engineering team. Although this was a Team 31 milestone event, attendees and contributors also came from the Authority (the UK Ministry of Defence).

The independent board were impressed with the rate of progress made since contract award in November 2019, and the level of technical maturity of the design. The Engineering team in particular, and all contributors to the successful WSPDR, are to be commended for their efforts.

Graeme Thomson, Babcock Type 31 Programme Director said: «Completing the Whole Ship PDR is a key milestone for the Type 31 programme and signals our move into Detailed Design. I’d like to thank all involved, a lot of hard work went into achieving this positive outcome. I look forward to the next stage in this exciting and challenging programme».

Progress on the Type 31 programme continues at pace. Babcock’s Rosyth facility has seen significant investment in the last decade and is embarking on a new era of digitising facilities and systems to bring advancements and efficiencies into the manufacturing, build and assembly process for the frigates. This includes the installation of additional Advanced Manufacturing capability and the construction of a new assembly hall capable of housing two Type 31 frigates. Ground breaking for the new hall took place in April, signalling the commencement of the civil works programme.

Type 31 Frigate

Babcock Team 31 has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) as the preferred bidder to deliver its new warships. Led by Babcock, the Aerospace and Defence company, and in partnership with the Thales Group, the T31 general purpose frigate programme will provide the UK Government with a fleet of five ships, at an average production cost of £250 million per ship.

Babcock Team 31 selected as preferred bidder for UK Type 31 frigate programme

Following a comprehensive competitive process, Arrowhead 140, a capable, adaptable and technology-enabled global frigate will be the UK Royal Navy’s newest class of warships, with the first ship scheduled for launch in 2023.

At its height the programme will maximise a workforce of around 1250 highly-skilled roles in multiple locations throughout the UK, with around 150 new technical apprenticeships likely to be developed. The work is expected to support an additional 1250 roles within the wider UK supply chain.

With Babcock’s Rosyth facility as the central integration site, the solution provides value for money and squarely supports the principles of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. It builds on the knowledge and expertise developed during the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier modular build programme.

The announcement follows a competitive design phase where Babcock Team 31 was chosen alongside two other consortia to respond to the UK MOD’s requirements.

Work on the fleet of five ships will begin immediately following formal contract award later this financial year, with detailed design work to start now and manufacture commencing in 2021 and concluding in 2027.

Archie Bethel, CEO Babcock said: «It has been a tough competition and we are absolutely delighted that Arrowhead 140 has been recognised as offering the best design, build and delivery solution for the UK’s Royal Navy Type 31 frigates. Driven by innovation and backed by experience and heritage, Arrowhead 140 is a modern warship that will meet the maritime threats of today and tomorrow, with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. It provides a flexible, adaptable platform that delivers value for money and supports the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy».

Arrowhead 140 will offer the Royal Navy a new class of ship with a proven ability to deliver a range of peacekeeping, humanitarian and warfighting capabilities whilst offering communities and supply chains throughout the UK a wide range of economic and employment opportunities.

A key element of the Type31 programme is to supply a design with the potential to secure a range of export orders thereby supporting the UK economy and UK jobs. Arrowhead 140 will offer export customers an unrivalled blend of price, capability and flexibility backed by the Royal Navy’s world-class experience and Babcock looks forward to working closely with DIT and MOD in this regard.

Arrowhead 140 is a multi-role frigate equipping today’s mariner with real-time data to support immediate and complex decision-making.

The frigate is engineered to minimise through-life costs whilst delivering a truly leading-edge ship, featuring an established, proven and exportable combat management system provided by Thales.

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK said: «Thales is delighted to be part of the successful Team 31 working with Babcock and has been at the forefront of innovation with the Royal Navy for over 100 years. With the announcement today that Arrowhead 140 has been selected as the preferred bidder for the new Type 31e frigate, the Royal Navy will join the global community of 26 navies utilising the Thales Tacticos combat management system. Thales already provides the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy and will now provide the digital heart of the UK’s next generation frigates».

Babcock will now enter a period of detailed discussions with the MOD and supply chain prior to formal contract award expected later this year.



Length 138.7 m/455 feet
Beam 19.8 m/65 feet
Displacement 5700 t
Speed 28+ knots/32+ mph/52+ km/h