Britain and Denmark will work side-by-side to bring the UK’s next generation of warships into service. The two allies have agreed to work even closer together to maximize the construction, training, and finally, operational opportunities of the Type 31 frigate.
The Royal Navy has ordered five of the ships to replace veteran Type 23 frigates which perform general patrol duties around the world.
The design of the 31s – also known as the Inspiration class, as each ship takes its name from a vessel whose deeds are carved in naval history – is based on the Danish Navy’s Iver Huitfeldt-class, which have proven themselves around the globe over the past decade.
Given the Danes’ extensive experience in every aspect of building the ships, introducing them into front-line service, operating and maintaining them, the two NATO navies have signed the Type 31 Implementing Agreement which will
• assist the two nations’ shipbuilding industries to deliver value for money capability on time to protect against evolving threats.
• support the introduction of the Type 31s into Royal Navy service
• jointly develop doctrine and seize opportunities to test that doctrine in joint training, exercises and operations
• develop and transform support policy for both classes of sho
• develop collaborative operational tasking involving Type 31s and Iver Huitfeldt-class vessels
• contribute to the long-term future of the Danish and United Kingdom defence industries
And beyond the mutual benefits for the Type 31/Iver Huitfeldt classes and their sailors, the agreement will also strengthen the strategic relationship between the two navies and their ability to work together.
Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Andrew Burns and Rear Admiral Torben Mikkelsen, Admiral of the Danish Fleet, put their signatures to the agreement during the annual gathering of European naval leaders, the Chiefs of European Navies Seminar (CHENS), this year hosted in Romania.
“The signing of this collaboration agreement reflects the Royal Navy’s and Royal Danish Navy’s enduring relationship,” Admiral Burns said.
“Our discussions since establishing this framework confirm that we have selected the right ship, with the added advantage of quality opportunities to work even more closely with a capable and dependable partner.
The Fleet Commander continued: “At a time of increased need for European maritime security, it is fitting that the signing of this historic agreement has been conducted at CHENS. This agreement will serve to further bilateral cooperation between our two Navies, advance our shared interests, and build upon the expertise and capability of our respective shipbuilding industries.”
Admiral Mikkelsen added: “To me, it is a great acknowledgement that one of the leading navies in the world is looking towards Denmark and our frigates.
“The Royal Danish Navy and the British Royal Navy have always had a close relationship. The agreement we've signed is a landmark and a continuation of that close relationship, and at the end of the day, the cooperation and the alike capacities in the frigates will strengthen both our navies' ability to operate.
“It really makes sense to bond our navies even closer by signing this deal.”
The keel of the first Type 31 frigate, HMS Venturer, was laid down in Babcock’s new Venturer assembly hall at Rosyth last month and will be in the water by the end of next year.