General Dynamics have been awarded a $64.8 million contract to support the second hull in the Dreadnought class ballistic missile submarine programme, HMS Valiant.
“General Dynamics Mission Systems is awarded a $64.8 million contract for the Strategic Weapon System Fire Control Subsystem hardware, associated deliverables, and spares for production efforts supporting the second hull of the UK Dreadnought Class ballistic missile submarines, nuclear, recently named as HMS Valiant, and the UK Software Facility,” the US Department of Defense said in a statement Thursday.
Work is expected to be completed in August, 2025.
This class of submarines are set to gradually replace the four Vanguard-class boats from the early 2030s comes. Construction on HMS Dreadnought, the lead ship in the class, started in October 2016. The submarines will be armed with Trident II D5 missiles.
The class has been purpose-built as a nuclear powered ballistic missile carrier, incorporating a selection of successful design features from other British submarines. Due to this it is quite unlike its predecessor, itself an adaptation of the Valiant class.
British and American collaboration will also benefit and informs the Dreadnought class missile capability. The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review stated the submarine will have eight operational missiles, carrying no more than 40 operational warheads between them. Furthermore, an important feature of the collaboration between the UK and the US has been collaboration between the UK and the US on the new and advanced PWR-3 pressurised water reactor nuclear.
PWR-3, representing the third generation of British pressurised water reactors, builds on cutting edge nuclear propulsion research undertaken by the MoD and Rolls-Royce in the last few decades and is rumoured to be at a very advanced stage of development.
The exact nature of the UK’s industrial access to US reactor technology remains largely unknown in the public domain, the Royal Institution of Naval Architects reported previously that it is likely that the UK has been given a good look at the S9G reactor design that equips the US Navy’s Virginia Class submarines.