The UK Defence Secretary has announced £79 million of investment in the next generation of Royal Navy submarines. The Successor submarines, which will carry the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent will be the largest and most advanced boats operated by the Navy and their design and construction will be the most technologically complex in the history of the UK.
Two contracts worth £47 million and £32 million have been awarded to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines, based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, who are leading on the design of the vessels.
The investment will allow BAES, who currently have more than a thousand people working on the Successor programme, to begin work on some initial items for the submarines that are due to replace the Vanguard Class from 2028. It is essential these items, which include structural fittings, electrical equipment, castings and forgings are ordered now to ensure the submarines are able to meet their in service date.
The MoD has also released a picture which shows for the first time how the early designs of Successor are taking shape. The image forms part of an update on the Successor programme that has been presented to Parliament.
Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said that ”this £79 million investment is another important milestone in our preparations to build these world leading submarines. The current Vanguard Class of deterrent submarines perform a vital role in the defence of the UK and the replacement for this capability is of national importance.
“The Successor programme is supporting around 2,000 jobs and up to 850 British businesses could benefit from the supply chain as we exploit the most modern technologies, and employ a significant portion of the UK’s engineers, project managers and technicians over the coming years.”
The First Lord of the Sea, Admiral Sir George Zambellas said that the Royal Navy has been operating continuous at-sea deterrent patrols for more than 40 years and the Successor submarines will allow us to do so with cutting-edge equipment well into the future.”
The submarines are being designed to be some of the stealthiest in the world and are expected to see operational service from the late 2020s right up to the 2060s.
The Successor design and build programme is amongst the most complex ever undertaken by British industry. The total number of MoD and industrial staff currently working on the Successor programme is around 2,000, with more than half working as engineers and designers. Over 850 potential UK suppliers have so far been identified as benefiting from investment in the programme and as many as 6,000 people will be involved by the time that the construction reaches a peak.
The funding for the long lead items follows the £700M awarded to the MoD’s key partners in the submarine industry, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock International, since the start of the Successor design phase in 2011. All of this funding is part of the total £3bn forecast cost of the Assessment Phase for the Successor Programme, which focuses on design and engineering activities, the purchase of long lead items, preparation for production, technology development, information and knowledge management, and project management.