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Babcock Team 31 has completed the ‘Whole Ship Critical Design Review’ (WSCDR) for the Type 31 frigate programme, a key indicator of compliance, maturity and engineering risk in proceeding into production as the 3D CAD model is matured. Held virtually over a 10-day period, the WSCDR comprised a large number of specific reviews to assess the maturity of individual systems and equipment.

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

Completing the review gives Team 31 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 for 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 significant progress being made since contract award. The facilities and technology investment in Rosyth is underway, with manufacturing bay refurbishments, installation of advanced manufacturing equipment, and completion of the New Assembly scheduled for later this year. “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,” stated Babcock CEO, David Lockwood.

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

A notional rendering of a Type 31 frigate exiting the Assembly Hall. (Image: Babcock)

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