In the assembly hall in Rosyth dockyard in Scotland, the keel of HMS Venturer was laid in a ceremony which blended cutting-edge shipbuilding with naval history.
Over the coming months it will become a 6,000-tonne ship, as the second ship in the class, HMS Active, takes shape beside it next year
HMS Venturer’s keel was placed upon a coin minted especially for the occasion – in keeping with Royal Navy tradition – watched by representatives from the Navy and the shipbuilding industry.
The special coin – designed by seven-year-old Josh Duffy, whose mother works for Babcock, the firm constructing HMS Venturer – is said to bring the ship and her crew luck.
Rear Admiral Paul Marshall, director navy acquisition for the Royal Navy, said: ‘Today’s keel laying ceremony connects Royal Navy tradition with 21st century shipbuilding.
‘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 Royal Navy gets the capability it needs on time.’
The construction of the Type 31 frigates is part of the government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, with a budget of £4 billion over the next three years.
The shipbuilding drive is set to support around 25,000 jobs across the United Kingdom, plus some 20,000 jobs across the wider supply chain.
The Type 31 frigates will carry out patrols across the globe, from targeting terrorist and drug smuggling rings in the Indian Ocean to proving relief to disaster-struck nations.
The warships will have a flight deck that can host helicopters up to the size of a Chinook, as well as weaponry including a 57mm gun and two 40mm secondary guns, and Sea Ceptor air defence missiles
Up to 187 personnel will serve on board the new ships, which are intended to replace the Type 23s, such as HMS Richmond and HMS Westminster.