Rolls-Royce Submarines, a provider of submarine nuclear reactor plants, has unveiled plans to expand its Raynesway site in Derby.

The company has been entrusted with supplying all the nuclear reactor plants for the new attack submarines as part of the agreement between the three nations.

This development will lead to new manufacturing and office facilities on recently acquired land surrounding the existing Raynesway site, bolstering Rolls-Royce’s production capabilities.

Good news for the UK and Australia’s submarine expansionism

Steve Carlier, President of Rolls-Royce Submarines, expressed his enthusiasm for the company’s role, stating, “This is a truly exciting time for our business, with work secured that will see us support UK and Australian submarines well into the second half of this century.

It will see thousands of jobs created across the UK supply chain, many of which here in Derby, and we’re proud to be playing our part in this international endeavour. For over 60 years, we have provided the power to the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines, and our expansion plans are the first step in helping Australia acquire their nuclear propulsion attack submarine capability while showcasing British innovation and expertise on the world stage.”

Currently employing over 4,000 people, Rolls-Royce Submarines is responsible for designing, manufacturing, and providing in-service support for the pressurized water reactors that power the entire Royal Navy’s submarine fleet.

James Marques, an aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, claimed: “The expansion is more or less doubling facility capacity which is necessary if Rolls-Royce is going to meet demand. They’re expected now to support both the UK and Australia’s sub-programs. It will be the main site for assembling these boats’ nuclear reactors.”

To ensure a steady supply of talent for the industry’s future, the company established the Nuclear Skills Academy in Derby, with funding from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The academy offers 200 apprenticeships annually and is set to continue this initiative for the next decade.

The expansion of the Raynesway site comes as outline planning permission is submitted to Derby City Council for the development of over 100,000 square meters of new floor space.

In addition to supporting the existing Astute and Dreadnought boat build programs, Rolls-Royce provides frontline support for reactor plant equipment worldwide from its Operations Centre in Derby. The company also offers assistance to submarines during their time in the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard and the naval bases in Devonport and Faslane.

Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC’s 2022 full-year results showed improved profit and cash in 2022, showing an underlying operating profit of £652m, £238m higher than the prior year.