All aboard: weighing the Royal Navy’s next generation frigate

Published On: March 14 2024

There comes a time in every new ship’s construction when it needs to have a weigh-in. Currently under construction at the Babcock International Rosyth dockyard, the Royal Navy’s new frigate HMS Venturer is the first of five Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates. So, her weigh-in will provide important validation data on the accuracy of her original design weight estimates.

According to the Royal Navy press office:

“Throughout the design of a ship, the weight is estimated by naval architects, who take into account a raft of considerations: weight of materials such as the steel in the hull, the equipment and engineering and systems installed (engines, shafts, pipes, computers, wiring, weapons), consumables (food and stores), fuel and even the ship’s company.”

 

How many jacks?

According to an article at Forces Net,

“HMS Venturer, who is longer than 11 London buses, was lifted using 84 power hydraulic jacks while load cells provided precise weight calculations …. The entire ship was lifted and measured three times to ensure the accuracy of the calculations.”

HMS Venturer’s data checks are very timely too, as she is being constructed in the massive assembly hall alongside the second ship in the new class, HMS Active. Once completed, Venturer will then making way for the subsequent construction of HMS Formidable. The first five frigates will cost £250m each, and are due for delivery by 2028.

 

Popping down to the paint shop

Back in May 2023, a huge portion of the ship known as ‘grand block 02’ was carefully transported from the production hall to the paint hall. A short video at Forces net shows the 260-tonne stern section gently rolled along the quayside in bright spring sunshine.

 

Back on the seas

The team at Babcock International also refitted Type 23 frigate HMS St. Albans including:

“A substantial power generation and machinery upgrade, the removal, overhaul and replacement of both propulsion motors, and finally stripping and repainting her entire hull.”

The company handed over the ship three months early enabling her to undergo sea trials earlier than planned. Again, we suspect load cells would have been pressed into service to check the frigate’s weigh-bearing capabilities for the new equipment and crew.

 

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