Confirmation of the build of the seventh Astute class nuclear submarine, HMS Agincourt, and a £2.5 billion pounds investment will secure at least 8 thousand jobs at BAE systems in Barrow according to the Defence Secretary.

Agincourt will have provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch torpedo tubes. The submarine will be capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

It is understood that today at the BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson will say:

“This multibillion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats. Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face.

Todays news supports 8,000 BAE Systems’ submarine jobs, as well as thousands more in the supply chain, protecting prosperity and providing opportunity right across the country.”

The confirmation for the seventh and final Astute class boat was given in the Strategic Defence and Security Review of October 2010, although an order had yet to be placed. On the 6th of March 2018 defence procurement minister Guto Bebb confirmed that the MoD had gained Treasury approval to sign a contract for Astute Boat 7, after a leaked document had suggested it might not be procured as a cost-saving measure.

It is now understood that construction of the seventh submarine has started.

88 COMMENTS

    • Perhaps its easier to make this sound like a new announcement, as opposed to just confirming that the 7th will be built, if the name is different than already stated.

      Good news, though it will not placate those on here who would like to see more boats. I think we can be pretty sure that isn’t going to happen, not until the dreadnoughts are in the water anyway.

      • Agreed on all counts. By the time the Dreadnought builds are over we’ll be onto the next generation of SSNs so, unless a miracle happens and HMG/MoD somehow find funding, manpower and capacity at Barrow to slot in an 8th Astute before Dreadnought max-es everything out (all of which are highly unlikely) then there’s no way we’re seeing any more than 7 SSN for the foreseeable future.

        When we do get to the next generation SSN replacements I suspect we’re most likely to be playing the T26 game, hoping for and originally seemingly getting 1-for-1 replacement of the older generation only to be subsequently disappointed. Increasing SSN numbers at that replacement stage is still, in my view, likely to be a pretty optimistic hope. Still, that’s all a long way off so who knows what might happen between now and then.

        • If I were the suspicious type (I am…) I would guess it’s a veiled jab at the folks on the other side who are doing their best to be difficult…

          Cheers!

      • The main reason why she’s named Agincourt is that the Army’s new fleet of vehicles to replace the CVR(T) family is named Ajax and so was probably done to avoid confusion.

      • i’d like the 31’s to be called the admiral class anson, pellew,hardy,fisher e.t.c and one of the type 26’s called gibraltar(just for the spaniards) and another port stanley(for the argies)

    • Great news and just goes to show you shouldn’t believe the scaremongering in the tabloids or from the armchair warriors on this comments section who said the seventh Astute would be be cancelled.
      Agincourt, love that name, not pc but who cares.

    • I was hoping they would figure out a way to build #8 somehow. They should just build a duplicate of #7, no modifications, no change orders. Then build 4 SSKs. The last defense review by the Labour government stated we needed 8 fleet submarines. No threats have disappeared since then.

  1. I know its wishful thinking, but I would like to think that one of these days we might get an announcement that has not been pre-leaked to the press. Such as “The name of the 7th Astute Class SSN and that it is this governments intention to procure an 8th and 9th boat in the coming years”

    • That’s extremely wishful thinking. Any extra SSNs could only be built after the Dreadnoughts, by which time the next class of SSNs would be due anyway. The only way that more could be built is if the Barrow hall is extended significantly, or a whole new site is built which would require many more sub orders to be viable. Getting foreign yards to build a couple of boats goes against policy, but would probably be the only way to increase the size of the SSN fleet in the medium term.

  2. Time to return to the Tory slogan of the 1900’s regarding Dreadnoughts – “We Want Eight, and We Won’t Wait!”

      • SR,

        I have no argument with the French people -I DO have low regard for their pols (same goes for most any of them here or abroad)… I had the pleasure of working closely with the French military and think highly of them… I think this is a political message.

        Cheers!

        • Hi Helions. My comment intended for James, not you. I have much the same view of most politicians too. But I think Macron, for the moment, is doing a good job…

          • Hey SR!

            Wasn’t actually reacting to your post (roundabout I suppose) I always try to make a distinction between my perception of French political policies and the actual people and military.

            In truth, the French government has supported the U.S. in these current fights in a admirable manner. However, I find the PC manner in which the government treats its radicals and the out of control and out of bounds areas of its own cities with a great deal of distaste – essentially sacrificing the lives of innocent citizens on the alter of moral equivalency and worse…

            Also and particularly said political system making threats to other sovereign countries in a bid to force them to remain in a political union (I have NO say in the BREXIT issue and am not expressing a pro or con view – it’s the principle) when that country’s citizens have exercised their hard won democratic right to vote on an issue. I find this smacks of the authoritarianism that we together spent so many years, lives, and much treasure to defeat. Sorry for the rant!

            The same can often be said of my own government unfortunately…

            Cheers!

  3. Great news for both jobs and our security. We now need to start work on ‘what next’ so that as soon as successor is built we are ready with a new design to give industry a steady stream of work.
    I would ideally like us to have a small force of ssk to complement astute and think our next generation of subs should be a mix of diesel/ full autonomous loitering subs for home waters and nuclear for carrier duties and strike missions. Hell, we could even have several autonomous subs specifically for carrier duties controlled from within QE.
    Just needs some good ideas, and our government to back the industry with some money. Let’s think big and be confident!

  4. Relieved that the mad idea of dropping to six has been abandoned.

    Seven. That’s still mad though, just not quite as mad as six.

    • (Chris H) ian – No 7 is what was deemed necessary in the last SDSR. Like the number of carriers will be 2. Its not mad its what we can afford and its a planned procurement. And as for ‘six’ well who said that? No one with authority. 7 is and has been the number since 2010.

      • Each to their own view Chris. Dropping to six was a serious consideration last year. As for SDSR 2010, that was a miscalculation of gargantuan proportions in my opinion. Nothing to do with affordability but priorities. If there was no money then Aid wouldn’t have increased by £8b since 2007. Cameron & Clegg were hell bent on trying to detoxify their image and sacrificed the armed forces to fund that increase in Aid. Anyway, the past is what it is. I am only interested in the future. Look at the navy China is building! China is Russia’s biggest security partner. China and Russia cover half the Eurasion land mass, have more nukes and men under arms than the rest of the world put together. China is building the equivalent of the RN every five years. Time to get real about how thin everything is and that includes the number of Astutes – even with seven.

        • (Chris H) Ian – You preface your comments with the assumption that 6 was ‘a serious consideration last year’. Who said it was? What is your source? If it was this fake memo you just made my point for me.

          Without getting into the politics I am amazed that there are those on here who seriously believe we were not in a very big hole economically in 2010. We had a huge deficit to get under control and do it quickly to retain Bond Market confidence. That yields from those Bonds has remained remarkably low proves what was done was effective. (It means we pay less to borrow).

          SDSR2010 was a set of military decisions made within an envelope of spending defined by a Coalition Government trying to get our economy back under control. If you don’t like the fact Nimrod was canned go and shout at the relevant Air Marshall. If you think we should have kept the carriers go shout at the relevant First Sea Lord not Cameron or Osborne. And please park the politics.

          Cameron and Clegg were between a rock and a very hard place in 2010. To their credit they took the required financial and economic decisions when others would have bottled it. 8 years on we are seeing the benefits of SDSR2010 with fleets of new aircraft, new carriers and frigates, continuous submarine building and thousands of new Army vehicles. Had Cameron and Clegg NOT been as decisive I doubt we would have had an economy worth having as the markets would have torn us to shreds. Like it or not regardless of your politics that was the reality. And don’t even get me started on the £35 Bn black hole in Defence budget left to them in 2010…

          • I was making a specific political point, not party political point scoring. I won’t name names but a former senior cabinet member whom I spent an evening with last year.

            Likewise just how close it was that the two carriers came to being sold on – so no, not fake news.

            Also, I am fully aware of where the country was in 2010 & it doesn’t alter my view one iota.

            Like I also said, it’s about the future now.

          • (Chris H) Ian & T.S – yes much speculation, rumours and all based on a fake leaked memo apparently. While there was much discussion about what should stay and what should go, how many carriers and what to do with PoW carrier while SDSR2010 was being debated when it was decided and published it said 7 Astutes and 2 carriers and that is what is being delivered. Unless of course you have an official MoD document to hand saying otherwise.

            One can be perfectly ‘chilled out’ making a point of clarity.

  5. (Chris H) Aren’t the real questions here: Who leaked a fake memo to cause embarrassment to the new Defence Secretary and why?

    Once again we have had the ‘hounds running’ following a rumour / story / whatever that has proved to be inaccurate. I hold to the theory expressed by an old Civil Service hand I knew years ago who said “if its an anonymous briefing or ‘noises off’ ignore it until the facts are known”. Politics sadly is a big factor in Defence matters but possibly rightly so as it is all taxpayer’s money. But with that comes all the garbage and baggage as well. Fake memos included.

  6. with Ivan’s recent agressions and USA getting more unpredictable as an ally it’s a good time for prequrement desicions

    • So when was the last negative thing regarding Defence? I mean factual not anonymous briefings and rumours.

      • This board lives in the past and sees news through the most skeptical of filters. If there wasnt rumour of cuts this board would be a lot quieter.

        I cant stand all these moaning Debbie Downers.

  7. Is anyone able to explain the increase in costs as the various boats have been built? I thought that ships were meant to get cheaper once you got past the first in class?

    • Probably from the artificial stretching of the build time I would imagine. Pay less in the short term, but hugely more in the long with less to show for it.

      • It makes you wonder, I’m pretty sure boat 2 and 3 where £1bn each. So if they hadn’t stretched out boats 4-7 could they have had boat 8 for the same price?

        • The first three were c£1.2 each, the rest were between £1.4 and £1.5b each so this about the same. I think there has also been a lot of remedial work done on boats 1-3 so it would not surprise me if they all ended up around the £1.5b mark.

          It is one of the consequences of not thinking about whole of life cycle procurement. When it comes to the Navy there is no excuse for this and I blame the politicians for this, not the MoD.

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing…. £2.5 billion pounds investment….

      Wonder what’s happened to the costs…boat 6 expected costs to completion £1.533 billion…wiki….

      • To Answer my own question….

        New topic just posted on UKDJ… £900 million is towards the Dreadnought….rest is for the last Astute….

    • The first one is expensive, but then it’s a race between becoming more efficient and general inflation. Leave it too long and inflation outpaces efficiency gains.

      The original budget for Boat 7 was £1.64bn, today’s contract was for £1.5bn of that, plus £900m to BAE and £60m to Rolls Royce for Dreadnought.

  8. I second that D,

    Love the the name, need to have an HMS Orleans in the fleet to rub that in across the channel as well :D. Not too lucid today after a very long flight back…

    Cheers!

    • WE need a H.M.S. Trafalgar that is our greatest naval victory, I can’t believe we don’t have a H.M.S. Nelson either, he is by far our greatest naval hero.

      • Both would be great names for the upcoming Dreadnought class – however, doesn’t RN naming conventions require the names to all start with”D”?

        Cheers!

        • Technically the next letter class should be “F” – so Fearless, Furious etc. But their Lordships have made it clear that the Dreadnoughts will have classic names for capital ships, which don’t have to keep the same initial. So expect something like Dreadnought, Hood, Royal Oak and Warspite.

          Personally I would have used F names for the T26, G names for the T31 (HMS Garland goes back 800 years but also Glory, Greyhound, Goshawk Glasgow, Glamorgan etc) and then Admirals-beginning-with-H for the SSBNs. You could have had Hawke, Hood, Howe and Horatio or Hardy.

          As far as battle names go, don’t forget that USS Ticonderoga and several of her sisters were named after battles against us – the weird ones are the Civil War ones like Gettysburg.

        • Probably, but not necessarily. More likely to be called something like Temeraire and Superb? The other obvious name would logically be Bellerophon (known as Billy Ruffian by its crews during Nelson’s time and the ship where Napoleon was held captive for three weeks until shipped to Saint Helena!). The last Bellerophon was a sistership of Temeraire and Superb which in turn followed on from Dreadnought. But it is unlikely to be used. Doesn’t ring well in the modern navy… Then again, we’ve called one of our Astutes Agamemnon, so anything is possible… Unlikely to replicate the already used ‘R’ class (Renown, Revenge, Resolution, Repulse)… ‘D’ names have already been used for Type 45 destroyers. Colossus is another possibility… Barham is another… Impossible to say 😊

          • They did say the others would have ‘names with historical significance’.

            HMS Dreadnought, HMS Warspite, HMS Temeraire, HMS Indefatigable – that would be my choice for the class.

          • Everytime I hear the name Temeraire I think of that sad painting… 😀 Why hasn’t there been an HMS George VI? The wartime King certainly deserves it and IMO the POW should have been named in his honor.

            He deferred the right to have the first of the KGV battleships bear his name instead asked it be named in honor of his father. I think the Queen might have asked the RN to do so as well and the request might well have been granted.

            Cheers!

          • We have a Temeraire…its where the club swingers live in Pompie.
            If they follow on from the Dreadnought theme ( First UK nuke sub) expect to see some of the following Valiant, Warspite, Conqueror, Churchill, Courageous

  9. The RN’s operational requirement is for at least eight SSN’s, and has consistently been that for 20 years. In 2001 the declared plan was to build eight Astute’s. In 2005 the rider “funding permitting” began to be added to the number. The 2007 MOD Equipment Plan allowed for only seven boats. I suppose it’s a small miracle the number hasn’t been cut further, but on the other hand several hundred million pounds have already been spent on long lead procurement items for Agincourt, and without her to keep the workforce busy at Barrow-at-Furness busy in the early 2020’s, the cost (and risks) of building Dreadnought will undoubtedly increase.

    I berst Given what has happen

  10. An un PC name I care not.

    The French have a Station called Austerlitz in Paris so.

    I did like though how the first Eurostars arrived at Waterloo.

    • Daniele, why do you persist with this continued hostility against the French? Or are you just taking the Michael?

      • SR please!

        Just how is mentioning an example of France itself having a Station name that may be controversial to some being hostile?!

        This whole thread concerns a similar name for our sub.

        I have no more against France than they no doubt have against us.

        Example Brits keeping away from liberation of Paris due to certain French sensitivities.

        Just cos I can laugh at the irony of French arriving in my country at a Waterloo station does not make me hostile FFS!

        I know I’m a proud brexiteer but that is ridiculous!

        • (Chris H) SR – We should treat the French with the cynicism they deserve born out of past experiences. Without getting into station names can I mention how the French have shafted us royally over the first version of Tornado, Typhoon and the QE carriers. The SEPECAT Jaguar was a brilliant project with Breguet but since Dassault and therefore French Government direct involvement they simply cannot be trusted.

          And if you want current examples of their ‘duplicity’ look no further than the joint project with BAE on UCAV ‘drones’ etc. They wait until they know all about Taranis and now MAGMA and then toddle off and do a deal with Airbus (basically a French run company albeit with a postbox in Germany) to produce a ‘European’ fighter and drone. And if you think that the French are not the main drivers behind our being removed from the Galileo Project despite our being the main contributor and funding source to date then you are not paying attention. When we are gone who is the main industrial beneficiary? Of course we have the ability to launch, maintain and operate our own satellite system and I hope we do. Not sure the EU will refund our investments because they are good at taking other people’s money.

          No I think healthy doses of cynicism, scepticism and humour are basic requirements when dealing with the French. Having said that I wish we were half as good at looking after our own industries and interests…

  11. Well said Danielle although we are sticking in to that smooth chap Macron who is clearly in amour with himself. And Sceptical Richard, Danielle is taking the Michel obviously. Tres Bon!

      • We’ve had several Yorktowns… As well as some Bunker Hills and Lexingtons etc…

        Yeah I know… Bloody Dog Eyed Colonials… 😀

        Cheers!

        • There ought to be an HMS Montreal or HMS Washington DC (which is why we have the WHITE HOUSE after being repainted to hide scorch marks) to stick it to us… 😀

          • (Chris H) – In the spirit of good banter I should point out that Washington was actually a rather untrustworthy British Army Officer so I don’t think the Andrew will be honouring him too soon …

            HMS Detroit would be good but then there could also be an HMCS Detroit and a USS Detroit as its ownership has passed back and forth ..

            HMS Baltimore would work seeing as it was a British built fort that defeated us …. although we did gift a Royal Navy drinking song to the Colonials for their new Anthem sung to words written at Baltimore.

            Not heard anyone suggest HMS Stanley for one of the Type 26s …

            Yorktown was of course a French victory .. (runs)

          • How about a HMS Benedict Arnold? 😀 With the exception of Yorktown which I believe was a Continental Army (primarily) and La Royal joint victory, I cannot argue with your flawless historical logic sir!

            I DO also note that the RN has maintained a shore establishment named HMS President at London complete with the figurehead of our ill fated frigate…

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_President_(shore_establishment)

            Cheers!

        • Following on the names theme, Gunbuster has a point. Dreadnought, Churchill, Courageous, Warspite, Conqueror, Valiant – all good names…

  12. Chris –
    ‘Without getting into the politics I am amazed that there are those on here who seriously believe we were not in a very big hole economically in 2010. We had a huge deficit to get under control and do it quickly to retain Bond Market confidence. That yields from those Bonds has remained remarkably low proves what was done was effective. (It means we pay less to borrow)’

    The financial crisis was not caused by the UK’s spending but by rank dishonesty by banks worldwide – banks the tories said were still too regulated. The UK economy was recovering in autumn of 2010, till Osborne threw it into reverse. The annual deficit may have decreased (and the country is looking a shambles again) with his measures but the national debt has ballooned and most people are still worse off than they were before 07/08. I notice this deficit didn’t stop Osborne finding money down the sofa to freeze fuel duty, for example, when he thought it politically expedient.

    • (Chris H) HF – Sorry but I have deliberately avoided getting into the events prior to 2010 or ‘who could and should have done what’ after. That Sir is ‘the politics’ I am avoiding. So I will not be drawn into your trap thank you. We had a £140 Bn annual deficit. If you think that isn’t a problem and it would not affect military or other spending then I suspect we read different books on economics.

      The issue I am interested in and was trying to address is what action was taken in military terms, could it have been done differently and what has been the outcome. On that basis I believe the right decisions were taken for the right reasons and 7 years on we are now in a very good and improving place in military equipment terms. I would call that a positive outcome.

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