The second Royal Navy Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarine will be named HMS Valiant, the UK defense secretary has announced.
In addition to naming the submarine, defense secretary Gavin Williamson announced a £400 million funding boost for the Dreadnought program.
The planned funding release, which supports the building phase of the program, came as Williamson unveiled a £25 million BAE Systems academy that will upskill employees to work on Royal Navy submarines for the next two decades.
“Next year marks half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began patrolling the waters in response to the danger posed by the Cold War – and the world is again facing a raft of intensifying threats,” Williamson said. “This £400m investment will ensure the Dreadnought program remains on track, so we continue to have a nuclear deterrent at sea for decades to come.”
The future Dreadnought submarine is the sixth Royal Navy vessel to be named HMS Valiant. The last Valiant was also a nuclear powered submarine
Launched in 1963, she took part in the Navy’s first tactical exercise under the Arctic ice and played an important role in the Falklands War, deterring the Argentine surface fleet from closing the islands.
The latest investment in Royal Navy submarines that will gradually replace the four Vanguard-class boats from the early 2030s comes after £960 million worth of contracts were announced in May to ramp up the current phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines. Construction on HMS Dreadnought, the lead ship in the class, started in October 2016.
At 152.9m (501ft) long, the new boats will be three metres longer than their V-boat predecessors, but displace 1,300 more tonnes. Dreadnought will also be fitted with a new lighting system which can imitate night and day – making it easier for crew to get used to normal life after three months submerged. They will also be the first British submarines with separate quarters for female crew.
Academy for Skills and Knowledge
The Academy for Skills and Knowledge which was opened at BAE Systems’ Barrow-in-Furness site today will develop engineering skills required to design, build and deliver complex submarine programs to the Royal Navy.
Featuring classrooms, workshops, a virtual reality suite and scale-model sized submarine units, the academy will provide bespoke training to almost 9,000 employees including nearly 800 apprentices.
The academy will provide around 2,500 people a month – including 600 apprentices from across industry and the Ministry of Defence – with skills and training to benefit the work carried out on the Dreadnought and Astute submarine programs.
“The Academy for Skills and Knowledge is essential in developing the vast range of talent in Barrow and ensures that the workforce is equipped with the best possible tools needed to meet the ever-growing demands placed on the UK’s submarine construction industry,” Submarine Delivery Agency Chief Executive Ian Booth said.
“The new academy will give our current and future workforce access to the very latest in learning and development, demonstrating our lasting commitment not just to our current employees but to those who will join our company in years to come,” Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said.