UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to officially reveal a new £2.5bn investment in support of the country’s nuclear submarine programme.
Williamson is set to announce that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £1.5bn contract with BAE Systems for the construction of the Royal Navy’s seventh Astute-class submarine, Agincourt, as part of the initiative, reported The Herald.
As quoted by BBC News, Williamson will say: “This multi-billion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats.
“Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face.”
He will also add: “Today’s news supports 8,000 BAE Systems’ submarine jobs, as well as thousands more in the supply chain, protecting prosperity and providing opportunity right across the country.”
Additional contracts featuring a combined worth of £960m are also slated to be announced for the second phase of development of a fleet of four nuclear-armed, Dreadnought-class submarines for the Royal Navy.
The Dreadnought-class submarines are intended to replace the navy’s four current Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, which are equipped with the Trident weapons system.
Work under the contracts will be carried out over the next year and the new vessels are expected to be deployed with the navy until the 2030s.
In addition, Williamson is scheduled to open a new £100m Central Yard Facility building in the Cumbria manufacturing site, which will be used to carry out the outfitting and testing of each section of the new vessels.