UK defence prime Babcock has been awarded two additional contracts worth a combined £121m ($153.8m) for work on the UK’s news Dreadnought-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programme.
According to a 28 November release from Babcock, the contracts include a four-and-a-half-year £66m deal with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide input into the development of the support solution for the UK’s new Dreadnought-class SSBNs.
The £31bn Dreadnought programme will replace the ageing Vanguard class as Britain’s next-generation strategic deterrent boats – which employ the Trident II D5 ballistic missiles – from the early 2030s.
Babcock will also provide the UK MoD with technical and management support, engineering best practice, and submarine maintenance achievability.
In addition, Babcock has been awarded a £55m contract by BAE Systems for Weapon Handling and Launch System (WHLS) and Submerged Signal Ejector equipment for Boats 2-4 of the Dreadnought class.
The agreements follow the recent signing of a five-year contract with the MoD to support the detailed design for the new SSN AUKUS submarines, which will replace the Astute-class nuclear-powered hunter-killer (SSN) fleet from the late 2030s, Babcock stated.
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Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said that the Dreadnought class would be “central to keeping [the UK] safe”.
Babcock has a considerable industrial footprint focused on the UK’s naval sector, operating at shipyard at Rosyth – which is building the Type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy – while its Devonport Royal Dockyard facility is co-located with HM Naval Base Devonport, forming the largest naval support site in Western Europe, according to the company.
Babcock operates the UK’s only nuclear licensed facility for refitting and defueling nuclear submarines and 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.
Dreadnought programme progresses
In October UK Royal Navy announced that construction of the largest segment of the future HMS Dreadnought SSBN, lead boat of the class, had been completed at the BAE Systems submarine yard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
BAE Systems was originally contracted in 2012 to begin its initial design of the four future SSBNs – Dreadnought, Warspite, Valiant and King George VI – and another detailed design task in 2015.
Upon completion, the Dreadnought-class submarine will become the Royal Navy’s largest submarine. It will have a length of 153.6 metres and displacement of 17,200 tonnes.
To date, four successors will be built, of which Dreadnought leads the way, ahead of HMS Warspite and Valiant (also under construction), with work yet to start on Boat No. 4, HMS King George VI.