Venturer’s Aces – first sailors join new Type 31 frigate
Nine sailors, led by the warship’s Senior Naval Officer Commander Chris Cozens, are the first of ship’s company which will grow to more than 100 when the ship joins the Fleet.
It’s the task of the trailblazers to bring the 5,700-tonne warship – whose construction only began in September 2021 – to life, helping to write the ‘operators’ manual’ for Venturer and the four other ships of the class.
The Type 31s are designed for a wide variety of roles around the world, with each ship in the class drawing its name from an historic Royal Navy vessel whose deeds have served to inspire future generations of sailors; in Venturer’s case, she honours a WW2 submarine which famously torpedoed a German U-boat while both vessels were submerged.
Armed with Sea Ceptor air defence missiles, a 57mm and two 40mm guns, a 4D radar – which is brand new to the Royal Navy – and carrying either a Wildcat or Merlin helicopter and up to three sea boats, HMS Venturer will be a key capability in delivering the RN’s maritime security tasks.
The Type 31s are one of two classes of frigate under construction for the Royal Navy. They will conduct duties around the globe where the presence of a major Royal Navy warship is required – such as curbing drugs trafficking in the Caribbean or Middle East, working with NATO in the Mediterranean, and providing humanitarian relief and assistance to those that need it.
Venturer is due to emerge from the construction hall at Babcock’s Rosyth facility within a year and the growing ship’s company will work side-by-side with the MOD’s DE&S team, and shipbuilders to understand how to operate the ship and deliver it into service.
Commander Cozens said he and his team relished the challenges ahead: “The crew are the beating heart of the ship, turning cold steel into a warship.
“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to bring an inspirational and innovative ship into service quickly through highly-experienced, empowered Royal Navy engineers, logisticians and operators who will be at the forefront of this new model, trusted to deliver.
“HMS Venturer is the epitome of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, procured in a very different way where industry and Defence work seamlessly side by side. It is privilege to be part of the team bringing in the very latest maritime technology to serve Britain’s global ambitions.”
Among the experienced team joining Venturer is the Executive Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer 1 Pete Johnson, with 37 years’ experience.
“What an absolute honour it is to be part of the Royal Navy team joining what is currently a very new and complex engineering project. As with all warships, the heartbeat is its ship’s company and I look forward welcoming, developing and growing as one, as our people join.”
And paving the way for junior ratings – who proudly wear the first ‘HMS Venturer’ cap tally in decades – is Leading Writer Andrew Fleming who said: “It’s a privilege to be part of the first crew of the first of the new Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates.
“I look forward to the challenge of standing by the ship in build as we progress towards sea trials and acceptance into service.”
Commodore Steve Roberts, Deputy Director Ships Acquisition who is leading the Type 31 programme, added: “I am delighted to wish the ship’s company of HMS Venturer every success in bringing her to life as an operational warship. This is an exciting milestone in the Type 31 Programme, and I look forward to working with them to deliver this important capability for the Royal Navy.”
All units of HMS Venturer are now in production in Rosyth where the ship herself is taking shape in the build hall – named after the first ship in the Type 31 class.
“Welcoming the first of HMS Venturer’s crew, joining the ship at our Rosyth facility is a another significant milestone on the Type 31 programme,” said Derek Jones, Type 31 Managing Director at Babcock.
“Our customer and the mission we share inspires Babcock Team 31 every day, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our Royal Navy and MOD partners as the programme progresses.”
Once accepted from Babcock, all five ships will undergo a period of capability upgrades under the MOD and demonstration trials before entering service with the Royal Navy.