Massive Type 31 Frigate Building Hall Unveiled in Rosyth
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Dec 11, 2020)
With an eye to reassuring Scotland’s politicians and population, the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy have touted the construction there of a new final assembly hall for the future Type 31 frigates as an event of the greatest significance, meriting fully four press releases. (Babcock photo)
A vast building hall for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 31 frigates has been unveiled in Rosyth.

A vast building hall for the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigates has been welcomed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as a major milestone in building the next-generation frigates.

Type 31s, which are being built by Babcock in Roysth, will be the beating heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, deterring aggression and supporting the UK’s national interests across the world.

At 147 metres long, the new hall can comfortably fit three Olympic size swimming pools, and the 30 metre high ‘megadoors’ can accommodate two vessels being assembled at the same time side by side.

The unveiling of the module hall follows the substantial £16.5 billion settlement for defence over the next four years that will modernise the armed forces, reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.

Speaking virtually at the opening ceremony of Babcock’s mammoth module hall in Rosyth, the Defence Secretary said:

“Defence underpins a wealth of jobs and investment across the entire United Kingdom. Babcock’s ‘frigate factory’ in Rosyth demonstrates the huge footprint of prosperity that defence brings.

“This vast industrial facility will see Scottish shipbuilders build our latest warships to take pride of place in the Royal Navy fleet.”

Robertson was awarded a £31.5 million contract by Babcock to build the module hall. This project maintained 100 jobs, created five new full-time roles at Robertson and supported a further 100 positions throughout Robertson’s supply chain. The company has also committed significant orders to local Scottish suppliers for the assembly hall build.

Ground-breaking for the new hall commenced in April 2020. The steel structures are now in place in preparation for ship assembly, which will commence in 2021.

Learning lessons from previous programmes to reinvigorate the shipbuilding capabilities at Rosyth, the new hall has state-of-the art manufacturing facilities and new digital systems as well as gantry stair access inside the structure to remove the need for scaffolding. This means personnel will be able to safely access the vessels without leaving the building.

The Type 31 programme employs more than 1,250 people across the UK, which will create a legacy of infrastructure, innovation and skills for the shipbuilding sector. Off the back of the programme, Babcock have also jumpstarted a further 150 apprentice roles to set the sector up for success in the next generation.

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Red Letter Day for Royal Navy in Scotland
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Dec 11, 2020)
Marked by construction of a building hall for the next-generation Type 31 frigates and naming of the fifth Clyde-bound Astute Class submarine Anson

The start of construction on a vast building hall for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 31 frigates and the naming of the fifth Clyde-bound Astute Class submarine Anson marked a red-letter day for the Royal Navy in Scotland today, (Friday 11 Dec 2020).

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace welcomed the steel structures being put in place and main work getting underway on Babcock’s mammoth Rosyth module hall in a virtual message of support, while the Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy, blessed the 7,400 tonne, 97m long nuclear-powered boat in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.

Robertson of Elgin has been awarded a £31.5 million contract by Babcock to build the module hall. This project will maintain 100 jobs, create five new full-time roles and will support a further 100 positions nationally throughout the supply chain.

The company has also committed significant orders to local Scottish suppliers for the assembly hall build. Robertson also recently completed the new strategic facility for the submarine hunting Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth.

Anson will eventually join her sister boats HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful, already in service, at HM Naval Base Clyde. Together they will contributing to operations and supporting the Scots-based Continuous at Sea Deterrent. HMS Audacious, the fourth of class, left Barrow earlier this year and is currently undergoing sea trials. Boats six and seven – Agamemnon and Agincourt – are in construction at the Barrow shipyard by BAE Systems.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Defence underpins a wealth of jobs and investment across the entire United Kingdom. Babcock’s ‘frigate factory’ in Rosyth demonstrates the huge footprint of prosperity that UK Government investment in defence brings.

“This vast industrial facility will see Scottish shipbuilders build our latest warships that will take pride of place in the Royal Navy fleet.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “HMS Anson will play a vital role in defending the UK from deep-sea threats posed by adversaries around the world and provide a competitive edge for decades to come.

“The name Anson already exemplifies the long and rich history of our Royal Navy and now, thanks to Anson’s latest maritime technology, showcases excellence in UK shipbuilding.”

Standing at 147 metres long, the new shipbuilding hall, when completed, could comfortably fit three Olympic size swimming pools. Towering at 30 metres high the aptly named ‘megadoors’ will accommodate the vital crane system, known as Goliath. Once the Type 31 build begins next year, the hall will be able to accommodate two vessels being assembled at the same time side by side.

The start of work follows the substantial £16.5 billion UK Government settlement for defence over the next four years that will modernise the armed forces, reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.

Type 31 will be the beating heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, deterring aggression and supporting the UK’s national interests across the world. The programme employs more than 1,250 people across the UK, which will create a legacy of infrastructure, innovation and skills for the shipbuilding sector. Off the back of the programme, Babcock has also jumpstarted a further 150 apprentice roles to set the sector up for success in the next generation.

Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute Class submarines never need to be refuelled. The extremely capable boats can circumnavigate the world without surfacing and are limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew. The submarines manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.

The last HMS Anson (1942-1951) was a King George V-class battleship, which saw active service in World War Two. All eight Anson vessels have been named after an Admiral of the Fleet, George Anson (1697-1762), who commanded at the first battle of Cape Finisterre and was First Lord of the Admiralty during the ‘7 Years War’.

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Huge Type 31 ‘Frigate Factory’ Unveiled in Rosyth
(Source: Royal Navy; issued Dec 11, 2020)
Work has begun on a huge hall for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 31 frigates – to build two ships side-by-side.

Standing at 147 metres long, the hall at Rosyth includes 30-metre high ‘megadoors’ and will be able to accommodate two of the 138.7-metre vessels being assembled at the same time side by side.

Babcock awarded a £31.5m contract to build the module to Robertson Construction and at a small Covid-safe ceremony marking the beginning of the steel structure construction.

The defence firm also announced that it has placed an order for PEMA welding and production panel lines to support the automation of shipbuilding.

During the ceremony a virtual message was heard from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who said: “This vast industrial facility will see Scottish shipbuilders build our latest warships that will take pride of place in the Royal Navy fleet.”

Ground-breaking for the new hall began in April 2020 and assembly of the first of five Type 31s for the Royal Navy will begin in 2021.

The new hall will have gantry stair access inside the structure to remove the need for scaffolding. This means personnel will be able to safely access the vessels without leaving the building.

Additionally, three new panel lines, a cornerstone of Babcock’s digital transformation at Rosyth, will make the manufacturing process significantly more efficient.

Work has already started on the refurbishment and extension of the existing manufacturing bay which will house the panel lines.

Babcock marked the new Assembly Hall construction milestone by burying a commemorative time capsule at the site of the new facility.

John Howie, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Babcock said: “The Type 31 programme is re-energising the UKs’ maritime capability through innovative, next generation, UK ship design and build.

“The infrastructure investment underway at Rosyth builds on our exceptional heritage, experience and engineering insight, delivering a very real step change in capacity and capability for modern UK shipbuilding.”

David Cairns, regional managing director, Robertson Construction, said: “The provision of this facility will further enhance the delivery capabilities of Babcock from the Rosyth site. We are pleased to be selected as the delivery partner of choice for the new Assembly Hall.”

Team 31 is already operating across the UK in Rosyth, Bristol, Devonport and Crawley, with recruitment underway to support the growth of the programme and mobilisation in readiness for ship build at Rosyth starting in 2021. At its height approximately 1,250 people will work on the programme across the UK.

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Babcock Invests In Technically Advanced Shipbuilding Facility
(Source: Babcock; issued Dec. 11, 2020)
Babcock has awarded a £31.5 million contract to Robertson Construction for the development of a new Assembly Hall at its Rosyth site. The construction project will support circa 100 positions locally in Scotland and a further 100 positions nationally throughout the supply chain.

At a small Covid-19 safe ceremony marking the beginning of the steel structure construction, Babcock also announced that it has placed an order for PEMA welding and production panel lines to support the automation of shipbuilding.

This is part of a £55 million investment programme currently underway on the site, on top of a further £100 million that has been invested over the last decade, ensuring Rosyth's shipbuilding capability and capacity can be optimised to support further opportunities, with state of the art engineering infrastructure and digital innovation at its heart.

The Assembly Hall will initially be used for the Type 31 general purpose frigate programme and provides a modern, future-ready facility designed to assemble two vessels side by side. Free from weather disruption, the facility will enable productivity gains due to improved access and digital connectivity.

Advancements inside the Assembly Hall include the use of handheld devices that will underpin the efficient flow of materials with lean thinking applied to all aspects of the build and operations. Gantry stair access inside the structure also removes the need for traditional scaffolding, enabling safe access to the vessels without leaving the building.

Additionally, three new panel lines, a cornerstone of Babcock's digital transformation at Rosyth, will create significant efficiencies in the manufacturing process. Work has already started on the refurbishment and extension of the existing manufacturing bay which will house the panel lines.

Each PEMA production line is based on modern shipbuilding technology that enables Babcock to raise its level of automation. PEMA Thin plate panel line is equipped with the latest technologies, such as plate edge milling and robotic welding which enable high-quality production of various panel types. PEMA T-beam fabrication line is designed to make straight T-beams without any additional straightening processes.

Babcock marked the new Assembly Hall construction milestone by burying a commemorative time capsule at the site of the new facility.

John Howie, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Babcock said: "The Type 31 programme is re-energising the UKs' maritime capability through innovative, next generation, UK ship design and build. The infrastructure investment underway at Rosyth builds on our exceptional heritage, experience and engineering insight, delivering a very real step change in capacity and capability for modern UK shipbuilding.

"It's great to see the progress being made across the programme as we invest in new infrastructure and technologies to support the build phase of these fantastic new frigates. I know the team are looking forward to working closely with Robertson Construction on the development of the new Assembly Hall and with PEMA on the installation of the panel lines."

David Cairns, regional managing director, Robertson Construction, commented: "The provision of this facility will further enhance the delivery capabilities of Babcock from the Rosyth site. We are pleased to be selected as the delivery partner of choice for the new Assembly Hall."

Progress of the Type 31 facilities at Rosyth site follows a successful whole-ship Preliminary Design Review held in June 2020, which provided a key indicator of the compliance and design maturity. The programme is currently progressing through the Detailed Design phase.

Team 31 is already operating across the UK in Rosyth, Bristol, Devonport and Crawley, with recruitment underway to support the growth of the programme and mobilisation in readiness for ship build at Rosyth starting next year. At its height approximately 1250 people will work on the programme across the UK.

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