The United Kingdom is starting construction work on the next-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon revealed this as he announced nearly £1.3 billion of funding was awarded to BAE Systems to start the ‘Delivery Phase 1’ of the Successor program.
At a ceremonial event at the BAE Systems yard next week, Fallon will begin the work with a ‘steel cut’. Several hundreds of suppliers are expected to be involved in the programme at its peak, almost 85 per cent of those based across the UK.
‘Delivery Phase 1’ will involve structural steel work for the ‘auxiliary machine space’ of the first submarine: this contains switchboards and control panels for the reactor.
According to the MoD, 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.
The Successor program will deliver four new submarines for the Royal Navy and will replace the current Vanguard class, with the first submarine entering service in the early 2030s.
“Comparable in size to the Vanguard class submarines, the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarine is widely considered to be one of the world’s most complex engineering challenges,” BAE Systems said. “Technological advances, threat changes, new methods of design and production mean the new submarines will be a completely new design.”
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.”