The programme remains within budget and on track for the First of Class, HMS Dreadnought, to enter service in the early 2030s. Work continues at pace with good progress on the whole boat design and with the transition into construction. The programme entered Delivery Phase 2 in April under the management of the new Dreadnought Alliance (see Management and Governance Changes below).
The Department underpinned this second phase with initial tranches of over £1.3 billion of investment with two of the programme's Tier 1 suppliers: BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.
Investment during this three-year phase of work will see the continuation of the manufacture of the first submarine, and commencement of the build of the second (Valiant), and the manufacture of Dreadnought's nuclear propulsion power plant. The investment will also support the building of facilities at BAE Systems' shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness and the next generation of facilities at Rolls-Royce's Raynesway site in Derby.
The major subcontract commitments planned under this Phase include gearboxes, main engines and generators, with ‘batch-buy’ being pursued where appropriate to maximise value for money opportunities across the four-boat programme. Construction of the main pressure hull units for Dreadnought are progressing well, and utilisation of the new Central Yard Facility in the Barrow shipyard is now ramping up.
There will always be uncertainty associated with delivering one of the most complex programmes ever undertaken by the UK. To provide increased insight and confidence, the Dreadnought Alliance has matured the integrated schedule that gives a coherent view of the holistic build programme and is used to drive it forward, based on “every day counts” and making “best for programme decisions”. Over the next six months (and progressively after that) the Alliance will analyse in greater detail the programme risks, and identify opportunities to increase flexibility in the schedule and reduce programme costs.
In May, the Defence Secretary opened the new £100 million Central Yard Facility. The facility provides additional capacity and enables a more efficient build methodology, for example to outfit and test each section of the submarines. The benefits of other investments at the Barrow shipyard are also being seen, such as the Paint Facility and
development of the New Assembly Shop.
As reported in the media in October, there have been technical complications with the manufacturing of the missile tubes to be used in the Common Missile Compartment being developed for our submarines and the United States' Columbia Class. Assessment and repair work is underway with the main supplier and their subcontractors, and we are working closely with our US counterparts to understand and, where possible, enable their plan to achieve the earliest supply of missile tubes into the Dreadnought programme.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will not compromise on its high standards on safety and quality; this issue will see no change to the programmes' overall budget and timescales.
Click here for the full report (7 PDF pages) on the UK Government website.