The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has negotiated a £1.4bn contract for the delivery of the Royal Navy's new Agamemnon Astute-class submarine, which will be deployed to protect the country's new aircraft carriers and nuclear deterrent.
Agamemnon is the sixth in a total fleet of seven Astute-class nuclear-powered vessels, which are the largest and most advanced submarines ever to enter service with the British Royal Navy.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines.
“These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world.”
BAE Systems began construction of the 7,400t, 97m-long Agamemnon in 2012 at Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, along with the fifth submarine Anson and the future as-of-yet unnamed seventh vessel.
The first three submarines of the same class, HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful, are already in service with the Royal Navy. The fourth boat, Audacious, was officially christened in December 2016 and is expected to be launched this year.
Fallon added: “Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178bn equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine build programmes, providing high skilled jobs for years to come.”
Astute-class vessels are equipped with the latest nuclear-powered technology and can circumnavigate the world submerged, producing oxygen for crew members from seawater as they move.
The submarines can also operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances.
Astute-class submarines are 50% bigger than the navy’s current Trafalgar-class vessels, which they are set to replace.
Image: UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon with BAE Systems apprentices inside Devonshire Dock Hall where HMS Agamemnon is under construction. Photo: courtesy of Michael Vallance, BAE Systems.