Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced that work has started on the UK’s Dreadnought nuclear missile submarine fleet with a £1.3 billion investment.
The Dreadnought project has now moved into the next stage, known as ‘Delivery Phase 1’, with manufacturing work beginning on structural steel work for the ‘auxiliary machine space’ of the first submarine: this contains switchboards and control panels for the reactor.
The money will also be spent furthering the design of the submarine, purchasing materials and long lead items, and investing in facilities at the BAE Systems yard in Barrow-in-Furness where the submarines will be built.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“Britain’s ballistic missile submarines are the ultimate guarantee of our nation’s safety – we use them every day to deter the most extreme threats.
We cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s so we are acting now to replace them.
Along with increasing the defence budget to buy new ships, planes and armoured vehicles, this shows that this Government will never gamble with our national security.
The investment will support delivery of the manifesto commitment on which this Government was elected, to retain the Trident-based continuous at sea deterrent – the ultimate guarantee of our safety –and build the new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile submarines: securing thousands of highly skilled jobs in the UK.
That commitment was underlined in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and supported decisively by an overwhelming majority in Parliament on 18 July 2016, sending a strong message to the hundreds of companies involved in the submarine supply chain that they – and their tens of thousands of employees across the country – can keep planning for the future.”
Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines said:
“This additional financial investment by the MOD is an expression of confidence in our ability to build these sophisticated vessels.
We have been designing the new class of submarine for more than five years and thanks to the maturity of our design, we’re now in a position to start production on the date we set back in 2011. This is a terrific achievement and I pay tribute to all those who have made this possible.”
The Successor programme already employs more than 2,600 people across MOD and industry, including 1,800 at BAE Systems.
Thousands more will be employed in the supply chain with an average of 7,800 people expected to be working on Successor each year throughout the duration of the programme.
At peak, in the early 2020s, BAE Systems anticipates employing more than 5,000 people on the Successor programme.