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Government awards £170m future submarine contracts
Design work for a new generation of Royal Navy submarines to replace the Astute class is underway, following the awarding of two multi-million pound defence contracts.
The contracts, worth £85m each, have been awarded to BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to deliver early design and concept work for the replacement vessels, supporting 350 jobs in the process.
Over the next three years, the contracts will inform future decisions and help define the replacement approach for the Astute class submarines – the nuclear-powered fleet of submarines currently in service with the Royal Navy.
The contract with BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness will sustain around 250 roles at the shipyard to develop the platform design and delivery arrangements. At Rolls Royce in Derby, approximately 100 jobs are expected to be sustained through the contract for the development of the Nuclear Steam Raising Plant and the production arrangements.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said: “Marking the start of a new journey in submarine development, British designers and engineers will lead the way in building submarines for our Royal Navy. This multi-million pound investment ensures that this vital capability will be ready to replace our Astute class submarines as they come out of service, whilst supporting high-skilled jobs across the Midlands and North West of England.”
Ian Booth, CEO of the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA), added: “Although it is too early to determine what the capability solution will be, designing and building submarines is one of the most complex and challenging feats of engineering that the maritime industry undertakes. Such work relies on some of the nation’s most experienced defence nuclear experts from the very beginning of the design phase.”
Steve Timms, managing director of BAE Systems’ Submarines business, said: “We’re very proud of our role in the delivery of the nation’s submarine fleet and this contract further builds on our rich heritage. In what is the 150th anniversary year of our Barrow shipyard, we now have the opportunity to further strengthen our partnership with the Royal Navy long in to the future. We’re looking forward to working with our partners and helping to deliver another strategically important and critical national defence programme.”
Four of the seven Astute submarines have already been delivered to the Royal Navy, while the remaining three are at an advanced stage of construction at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow.
BAE Systems is also a member of the Dreadnought Alliance and, working alongside the SDA and Rolls-Royce, is leading the design and build of a replacement for the Vanguard class of submarines. Build of the first two of the four new Dreadnought class submarines is well underway in Barrow.