01 Oct 23. £4bn UK contracts progresses AUKUS submarine design
Next phase of next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine is
UK businesses will be behind the design and manufacture of the world’s most advanced submarines, following the awarding of £4 billion of contracts today.
The signing of the Detailed Design and Long Leads (D2L2) Phase with BAE Systems (BAES), Rolls-Royce and Babcock Marine represents a significant milestone for both the UK and the trilateral AUKUS programme as a whole, in the lead up to build the future class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, known as SSN-AUKUS.
The contracts totalling £4 billion will progress the programme through the design, prototyping and purchase of main long lead components for the first UK submarines, allowing construction to commence in the coming years and ensure the stability and resilience of our domestic supply chain.
Building on more than 60 years of British expertise in designing, building and operating nuclear-powered submarines, the D2L2 contracts will support thousands of highly skilled jobs in the UK – a clear demonstration of how the AUKUS programme supports the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy.
Alongside the design development and long-lead procurement, infrastructure at the submarine shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness and the nuclear reactor manufacturing site in Raynesway, Derby will be developed and expanded where needed to meet the requirement of the future submarine build programme.
The aim is to deliver the first UK submarines into service in the late 2030s to replace the current Astute-Class vessels, and the first Australian submarines will follow in the early 2040s. They will be the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in one vessel.
Construction of the UK’s submarines will take place principally in Barrow-in-Furness, while Australia will work over the next decade to build up its submarine industrial base, and will build its submarines in Australia with Rolls-Royce supplying the nuclear reactors for all UK and Australian submarines. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
£3.95bn Of Funding Awarded To BAE Systems
The Ministry of Defence has awarded £3.95 billion of funding to BAE Systems for the next phase of the UK’s next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine programme, known as SSN-AUKUS. SSN-AUKUS will be the largest, most powerful and advanced attack submarines the Royal Navy has ever operated and will eventually replace the Astute class, which BAE Systems builds at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The funding follows the AUKUS announcement in March by the leaders of Australia, the UK and the United States. This will eventually see Australia and the UK operate SSN-AUKUS submarines, which will be based on the UK’s next generation design, incorporating technology from all three nations, including cutting-edge US submarine technologies.
Having started early design work in 2021, the £3.95bn funding will cover development work to 2028, enabling BAE Systems to move into the detailed design phase of the programme and begin to procure long-lead items. Manufacture will start towards the end of the decade with the first SSN-AUKUS boat due to be delivered in the late 2030s.
The award will also fund significant infrastructure investment at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, investment in its supply chain and recruitment of a more than 5,000 people.
Grant Shapps, Defence Secretary, said: “This multi-billion-pound investment in the AUKUS submarine programme will help deliver the long term hunter-killer submarine capabilities the UK needs to maintain our strategic advantage and secure our leading place in a contested global order. I’m committed to backing our defence industry, because it’s only with the mission critical support of businesses like BAE Systems that the UK can develop the advanced equipment our Armed Forces need to defend the British people in a more dangerous world.”
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems’ Chief Executive, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme. This funding reinforces the Government’s support to our UK submarine enterprise and allows us to mature the design, and invest in critical skills and infrastructure to support our long-term national security.”
BAE Systems has already delivered five of seven Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy with the remaining two boats at advanced stages of construction. The Company is also designing and building the UK’s next-generation nuclear deterrent submarines, Dreadnought, with work underway on three of the four new boats.
Delivery of the UK’s submarine programmes is a national endeavour between government and industry. BAE Systems’ Submarines business plays a vital role in the UK economy, particularly in the north west of England. By the end of this year, its workforce will grow to 12,500, including around new 900 apprentices and graduates. The business plans to recruit an additional 2,700 people next year, which will include a further 900 apprentices and graduates providing a significant employment boost for the region.
Babcock signs contract to support the next generation of nuclear submarines
Babcock, the international defence company, has signed a five-year contract with the Ministry of Defence to provide input into the detailed design for the new ‘Ship Submersible Nuclear AUKUS‘ (SSN-A) submarines, which will replace the Astute Class from the late 2030s. This is also the chosen design that Australia will use to build their new fleet, following the announcement from the Australian, United Kingdom and United States Governments regarding the optimal pathway for acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS pact. Working alongside the MOD and our Enterprise Partners, Babcock’s contract scope includes applying its extensive experience of complex submarine in-service support and maintenance, to build this into the design to maximise the submarines’ availability throughout its service life.
This contract award builds on work Babcock has already been delivering during the previous Programme Definition and Design Phase.
Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: “Babcock plays a critical role in submarine programmes, supporting submarine availability in the UK and internationally. The importance of applying our extensive knowledge and long-standing experience is being recognised through this contract award to ensure that the new Class delivers the operational availability through life that the Royal Navy requires. In addition, we look forward to providing ongoing support to help deliver capability for the Royal Australian Navy under the AUKUS agreement.”
Babcock has a proven track record for managing complex assets in highly regulated environments. Owning and operating the UK’s only Nuclear Licensed facility for refitting, refuelling and defueling nuclear submarines, Babcock sustains the entirety of the Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet, including the delivery of through-life support and life extension of the Vanguard, Trafalgar, and Astute Submarine Classes.
As the premier warship sustainment company in Australia and New Zealand, underpinned by our global experience, Babcock stands ready to help grow Australia’s local industrial capability to support the acquisition and operation of their new submarine fleet – helping to make their mission our mission and creating a safe and secure world together.