A £1.3 billion contract to build the latest Astute Class attack submarine, HMS Anson, has been awarded by the Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry of Defence have stated that savings of £50 million for the taxpayer have been achieved during negotiations with BAE Systems, and the agreed build time is to date the shortest ever for the Astute Class, with a current schedule some nine months ahead of that for Boat 3 (Artful).

Defence Minister Philip Dunne made the announcement as he visited the home of the UK’s submarine manufacturing industry based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and viewed progress already made on the new submarine.

The Astute class is the latest class of nuclear-powered attack submarines in service of the Royal Navy. The class sets a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:

“This £1.3 billion contract marks an important step in the progress of the Astute programme. This is a key part of our £166 billion plan to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need to defend the UK’s interests across the seas, in the skies and on land, both at home and abroad.

This new contract for Anson not only provides significant financial savings of £50 million to the taxpayer but also secures thousands of jobs in Barrow and across the UK supply chain, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to increase defence spending each year for the rest of the decade.”

Director Submarines at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, said:

“The Astute Class provides the Royal Navy with the most technologically advanced submarines, offering much greater firepower, better communications, and more advanced stealth technology than their predecessors.

The first two of class, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are already in service and making a vital contribution to the defence of UK’s interest, both at home and overseas. Third of class Artful is undergoing sea trials and is due to be handed over to the Royal Navy by the end of 2015.”

An estimated 5,900 people are employed directly as a result of the project; 3,500 BAE Systems staff at Barrow and 2,400 other people around the UK.

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David Hollingworth

Will this be the 7th and last of class?

Samuel Arbury

I think it’s the 5th, with Agamemnon being the 6th and Ajax being the 7th.

Bollocks.. Still time for them to cancel one or more then.. ?

Tom Baker

Defiantly 5th

Brian Trueman

How come its taking so long to build them are they building them one by one or have they started on each segment then just joining tjem together like the carriers?

Steve Lee

The carriers all get built in sections around the UK, which keeps lots of yards in work. I think the subs are all built at Barrow so they build one at a time, which guarantees the yard work for longer.

Richard Willis

It is the fifth. This one plus the sixth and seventh are already under construction at Barrow, so are unlikely to be cancelled.

Stephen Bell

Ideal more happy matloes in Faslane!!


Let’s hope we are going to buy a whole load of Tomahawk’s, so that the ships are actually useful when we are not going against a high tech opponent.


David Hollingworth – After SDSR 2010 a huge degree of pessimism is probably prudent but as a slightly cheery note re getting all 7 Astutes, I believe that there are some orders for long lead time items on the 7th Astute already placed so, if cancelled, there would be penalties and lost money. That effect probably saved the second carrier so hopefully will keep the run of Astutes safe as well although I would really love to see more than 7. Maybe if they’ve started getting the per-boat cost trending down and build times also coming down there might be… Read more »

Ben Carmichael

Never any rush to build, they need the work

Dave Stone

Did we only order seven because that was all that was affordable or doesn’t the Govt/MOD feel there is any operational requirement for more?


It would also be incapable of keeping pace with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which will be able to travel at more than 30 knots and need the submarines to protect them. One source told the Guardian the boat had a “V8 engine with a Morris Minor gearbox”. Other problems that have affected the boat in recent months include: • Flooding during a routine dive that led to Astute performing an emergency surfacing. • Corrosion even though the boat is essentially new. • The replacement or moving of computer circuit boards because they did not meet safety standards. •… Read more »

jon livesey

According to the wiki, the new carriers’ speed is “in excess of 25 knots”. When I saw that error, I stopped reading your post. If you get something that basic wrong, well……


Agreed, although if you’d read another 2 lines you’d have found the next huge error, or at least misleading statement. “Other problems that have affected the boat in recent months include:”. For people’s information, the stuff then quoted is from 2012 reports – 3 years and hardly “in recent months”. An example of the 2012 article being quoted is here – http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/15bn-submarine-compared-to-morris-minor-1441109 Mistakes are embarrassing but this was the first-of-class boat and a lot of the issues emerged when it was still in sea trials so probably from 2009/2010. It’s reasonable to expect that most (hopefully all) of the issues… Read more »

jon livesey

Since there have been some very foolish and uninformed posts on this subject, often quoting anonymous “sources”, I thought it would be worth posting a pointer to the wiki article. Lots of useful data and the writers don’t seem to have an agenda.