The scrapping of the seventh Astute Class submarine under construction is being “actively considered” it has emerged.
A leaked document seen by The Sunday Express stated senior officials read:
“In the long term the delay (or cancellation) will ease the pressure on manning, but we must not be seen to welcome this situation. Any loss of capability will impact on operations.”
Barrow MP John Woodcock said:
“This leaked document is confirmation that scrapping Astute boat seven is being actively considered by the government.
There is embarrassingly flawed logic within the decision but it shows just how much pressure there is to find any route out of the cash crisis that is gripping the MoD.”
The MP also said on Twitter that “industry and the MoD privately admit their ability to fund boat 7 is in doubt.”
Woodcock later tweeted:
“To be clear – we are not there yet. The defence secretary will clearly fight for the funds to cover the defence equipment programme, including boat 7. But the fact our submarine programme is under threat shows the terrible funding pressure being imposed by the Treasury.”
This comes not long after the fourth Astute class submarine, Audacious, which is being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, completed her first ever dive.