The UK Government has awarded a £235m contract to Rolls-Royce Submarines to support nuclear propulsion systems for the Royal Navy’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Under the contract, Rolls-Royce will deliver the support, advice and material required to ensure the safety and availability of the propulsion systems onboard the existing fleet of Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute class submarines until 2022.

The contract work is expected to sustain 500 UK jobs, mainly at Rolls-Royce in Derby and satellite offices at HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the new contract during a visit to Rolls-Royce’s site in Raynesway.

“This significant milestone for the Royal Navy would not be possible without the skills and ingenuity of our industry partners who supply and maintain equipment.”

It is part of a wider suite of contracts awarded to Rolls-Royce for the provision of naval reactor plant design, support, advice and components to the submarine build programme.

Williamson said: “This year, we mark half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began their continuous patrol of waters around the world. This significant milestone for the Royal Navy would not be possible without the skills and ingenuity of our industry partners who supply and maintain equipment.

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“Rolls-Royce plays a critical role in supporting our submarines and I’m pleased this contract will sustain 500 highly skilled jobs that help protect our country.”

Williamson also revealed that the third Dreadnought submarine will be called HMS Warspite in honour of the last ‘great ship’ to be built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Submarine Delivery Agency CEO Ian Booth said: “This contract is vital to enable the continued safety and readiness of the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines, and its signing demonstrates the ongoing successful partnership between the Submarine Delivery Agency and industry.”

Warspite will join three other Dreadnought-class submarines that are set to enter service in the 2030s. Each vessel will carry Trident nuclear missiles on deterrence patrols for three months at a time.

Last December, the UK Ministry of Defence announced £400m in funding for the £31bn Dreadnought programme.