BAE Systems has officially started the construction of the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) third of four Dreadnought-class nuclear deterrent submarine, named Warspite.

Commencement of work was marked by a traditional steel-cutting ceremony held at the company’s facility in Barrow-in-Furness, England.

The event was attended by various officials, including British Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk, along with BAE Systems’ representatives and employees.

Warspite will be the eighth RN vessel to bear this name.

The seventh vessel with this name was a first-generation nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine that served until 1991, while the sixth Warspite was a Queen Elizabeth-class ship, serving between 1915 and 1945.

Chalk said: “Our nuclear deterrent protects every UK citizen from most extreme threats, every minute of every day, and progress on Dreadnought-class is crucial to maintaining our national security.”

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Scheduled to enter in service by early 2030s, the four new Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines, including Dreadnought, Valiant, Warspite and King George VI, are expected to be the most technically advanced vessels in the RN fleet.

Each submarine will be approximately 153.6m-long and have over 215 miles of cabling and 26.4 miles of pipework.

The new submarines are slated to replace the RN’s Vanguard-class fleet.

Alongside Warspite, BAE Systems is also working on the construction of the first two submarines of this class, Dreadnought and Valiant.

This work is supporting around 11,000 jobs in Barrow alone, and tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

BAE Systems Submarines managing director Steve Timms said: “Today’s milestone is a really significant moment for thousands of employees here at BAE Systems and across the submarines enterprise who are working together to deliver Dreadnought-class.”

Last year in May, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce received contracts worth £2bn for Dreadnought-class programme.