UK defence secretary Philip Hammond has announced an additional £350m funding for the next stage of design work on the Successor nuclear-powered submarine programme that will replace the Vanguard-class fleet to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
In May 2011, the UK MoD had approved £3bn for the Successor programme design phase.
As part of the latest funding, BAE Systems will receive an additional £315m and Babcock a further £38m to carry out their respective work on the programme.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) funding follows £350m for initial design work for the Successor submarines announced earlier in 2012, aimed at maintaining a continuous deterrent for future decades at sea while safeguarding national security.
"This latest expenditure for the next-generation of nuclear-armed submarines is an investment in UK security and the British economy, sustaining high-quality jobs and vital skills," Hammond added.
The Royal Navy expects all submarines in its service to be based at Faslane by 2017, including the Astute and Trafalgar classes, as well as the Sandown-class mine counter measure vessels.
Commenting on the additional funding, first sea lord admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said: "One of the core roles of the Royal Navy, the continuous at sea deterrent remains an enduring strategic capability, underpinning our nation’s commitment to the preservation of peace in our uncertain world."
Recently, the navy’s third Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant successfully test-fired an unarmed Trident ballistic missile in the Atlantic Ocean.
The four Vanguard-class submarines currently operational with the UK Royal Navy were planned to be decommissioned in 2022 as part of the strategic defence and security review (SDSR), but their operation life has since been extended to 2028.
Image: HMS Vigilant conducting mission. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.