A £60m nuclear submarine contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence is set to secure the jobs of 700 people at Rolls-Royce’s Derby plant. The MoD has said it is spending £960m on the second phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines. £900m will got to BAE Systems, with the ‘remaining £60m to Rolls-Royce Defence, which will further the design and manufacture of the nuclear propulsion power plant.
BAE Systems has been awarded a £1.5bn contract for delivery of the seventh Astute class submarine and a further £900m for the next phase of the Dreadnought submarine programme. The Secretary of State for Defence, The Right Honourable Gavin Williamson, announced these contract during a visit to the Company’s submarine site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
A new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was also opened, marking the latest development in a major infrastructure investment programme at the Company’s Barrow site. Construction on the first of four new Dreadnought submarines started in October 2016 and this latest funding will support ongoing design and build activities, procurement of materials and investment in new and existing facilities tor a further 12 months.
The first three submarines in the Astute class – HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful – are already in service with the Royal Navy.
Funding allowed the company to start work on the seventh submarine in 2014, while the fourth, fifth and sixth submarines are also under various stages of construction in Barrow having been previously awarded full contracts. At 97m long and displacing more than 7,400 tonnes, they are the largest and most powerful nuclear-powered attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.
Dreadnought is the programme to replace the four Vanguard class submarines, which carry the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent. Once built, they will measure 153.6m long, with a displacement of 17,200 tonnes. They are being delivered by the newly-formed Dreadnought Alliance, a joint management team established between the MOD, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. The delivery of the Astute and Dreadnought programmes is a national endeavour with a supply base spanning the length and breadth of the UK. In 2017 alone, BAE Systems spent around 700m with more than 700 suppliers.
For support the build of Dreadnought, the Barrow Site is undergoing major redevelopment that will provide a range of new and upgraded capabilities, including an extension to the Devonshire Dock Hall, a 28,000m2 off-site logistics facility and an 8,000m2 Central Training Facility as well as the recently completed Central Yard Facility.