The Ministry of Defence's Type 31 frigate programme has passed a significant milestone in its development, with an extensive review of the ship’s design having been completed.
The Whole Ship Preliminary Design Review (WSPDR) lasted 10 days and was conducted virtually by 15 experts.
It provided an indication of the compliance, maturity and engineering risk in moving on to the Detailed Design phase.
The first Type 31 is expected to be in the water within the next three years, with five having been delivered to the Royal Navy by 2028.
It is part of the Government's plan to increase the number of warships in the service over the next 20 years.
The completion of the review comes as Babcock, the company building the ships, announced the construction of a new assembly hall at its Rosyth facility in Scotland, able to house two Type 31s.
The company’s Type 31 Programme Director, Graeme Thomson, said: "Completing the Whole Ship PDR is a key milestone for the Type 31 programme and signals our move into Detailed Design.
"I’d like to thank all involved, a lot of hard work went into achieving this positive outcome," he said.
"I look forward to the next stage in this exciting and challenging programme."
Babcock said it was "impressed" with the rate of progress made since being awarded a £1.2 billion contract was to build the Type 31s in November.
The ships will cost an average of £250 million each and will be assembled at the Rosyth site.
On the new assembly hall, a Babcock statement said: "Babcock’s Rosyth facility has seen significant investment in the last decade and is embarking on a new era of digitising facilities and systems to bring advancements and efficiencies into the manufacturing, build and assembly process for the frigates."
The Type 31s will be fitted with the world-leading Sea Ceptor missile system, a range of highly advanced weapon and sensor systems and a combat system with a 4D air and surface surveillance and target indication radar.
The vessels will also have capabilities to operate with a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter.
Cover image: A picture showing the design of the Type 31 frigate (Picture: Babcock).