16 Sep 2023
Type 31 frigate programme moves into multi-ship build phase with second keel laying
Babcock continues its successful delivery of the Royal Navy Type 31 frigates, with the laying of the keel for HMS Active, the second of the five-ship Inspiration class programme.
This marks the move into the programme’s multi-ship phase which sees two warships being built simultaneously, with work continuing only metres away on the first of the Inspiration class, HMS Venturer.
Invited guests, along with Babcock employees and their families, saw the time-honoured shipbuilding ceremony for HMS Active, in advance of a family fun day and BBQ at the Fife facility.
The keel laying event, with a focus on the skilled employees behind the build, involved placing a specially commissioned coin under the keel which will be presented to the captain and crew when the ship is ready to sail. In keeping with tradition, Babcock asked their youngest apprentice, first-year Electrical Fitter, Robbie Dick, to ‘do the honours’ and place the specially designed coin under the keel.
Amongst Babcock’s guests on the day were members of the UK Royal Navy, the UK MOD’s procurement agency Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and representatives from Poland’s MIECZNIK frigate consortium.
The Polish frigate programme, which like the UK’s Type 31 and Indonesian Merah Putih frigate programme, is based on Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 design, recently reached a milestone of its own, cutting steel for the first of three vessels.
John Howie, Babcock’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Interim CEO Marine, said:
“Type 31 is an incredibly important programme for Babcock, our Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence customer and for the wider UK Shipbuilding industry. Today we see first-hand the dedication and commitment from our team here in Rosyth, and we are hugely proud to be able to share this traditional ceremony and programme milestone for HMS Active with our customer, families and friends.
“The success of this programme is founded on the strong relationship with our customer and the mission we jointly share, which is inspiring our teams each and every day to strive for excellence, delivering this future capability the Royal Navy needs”.
Inspired by the ship’s name, hundreds of Babcock employees also took a pledge to ‘Be Active’ and set themselves an activity-based goal during the weeks leading up to the keel laying ceremony. As part of the day, many of those who participated in the challenge joined the celebrations and swapped stories about how they achieved their own Be Active success.
Babcock continues to recruit a range of roles to support the successful delivery of the Type 31 programme. The Production Support Operatives (PSO) role, introduced in April last year, offers the chance for those without formal qualifications to work and learn alongside experienced engineers, welders, fitters, and electricians. We have also recently welcomed ten new trainee welders on an accelerated apprenticeship programme, offering the opportunity to take National Certificate and SVQ3 qualifications.