The MOD has negotiated a new £1.4 billion contract for the Royal Navy’s new attack submarine, the sixth in a total fleet of seven, which will protect the UK’s new aircraft carriers and nuclear deterrent.
The submarine, named Agamemnon, is part of the Astute Class, the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever to enter service with the Royal Navy. The submarines are being built by BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, which employs around 8,000 people in its submarines business, with thousands more working in the UK submarine supply chain.
The new contract guarantees a better deal for the UK taxpayer and for the Armed Forces, with an incentivised contract arrangement that will help to save money and demands the best possible work from industry.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines. These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world.
“Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine build programmes providing high skilled jobs for years to come.”
Construction of the 7,400 tonne, 97-metre long Agamemnon began in 2012, and is well underway in the Devonshire Dock Hall at Barrow, alongside Boat 5 – Anson – and the yet-to-be-named Boat 7. Their sister submarines, HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful are already in service with the Royal Navy, contributing to operations around the globe.
Rear Admiral Paul Methven, Director Submarines Acquisition for the Submarine Delivery Agency, said: “The signature of this contract secures another world-class nuclear submarine for the Royal Navy. These are the most technologically advanced submarines we have ever operated, offering much greater firepower, better communications and more advanced stealth technology than their predecessors.
“Today marks another significant milestone for the Astute programme, that demonstrates the UK’s ability to deliver complex engineering projects, providing a fleet of submarines which will protect the UK’s interests around the globe.”
Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, the Astute Class submarines can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as they go. They also have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances despite being 50 per cent bigger than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines which are being replaced by the Astute Class.
Will Blamey, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: “Securing the contract for the sixth Astute class submarine is a significant milestone for BAE Systems and the result of many years of hard work by our highly skilled workforce. The Astute class submarines are amongst the most highly capable and technologically advanced in the world and we’re immensely proud to build them for the Royal Navy.”
Alongside work on the Astute Class, BAE Systems is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.