|Good news for the Royal Navy and for the British shipbuilding industry.
Three Astute Class submarines had originally been planned to be built, and all will be built at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. But the MoD has always said that it may eventually give the order for up to three more to be built. Now it has said that a fourth submarine can be built. It is to be HMS Audacious.
Audacious Order Sustains Submarine Design and Build Skills in the UK
21 May 2007
Barrow-in-Furness, United Kingdom. – BAE Systems has today welcomed the announcement of a contract for approximately £200 million by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the start of the construction of the fourth Astute-class nuclear powered attack submarine as good news for the UK’s submarine design and build capabilities. Boat four is to be named AUDACIOUS.
This contract runs to March 2008 and covers initial build work on the submarine. The MoD aims to contract for the whole boat by late 2008, and detailed terms and conditions will be agreed over the intervening period. The final contract placed will cover all aspects of the construction and completion of the submarine. It comes on top of orders for long-lead items that have already been placed with industry both to prepare the way for the construction of AUDACIOUS and to support the industrial infrastructure.
Murray Easton, managing director of BAE Systems Submarine Solutions commented: “The order represents another key milestone in the overall Astute class submarine project, and importantly will help sustain key skills and capabilities across the project; throughout our workforce, our suppliers and partners.
“Building a nuclear powered submarine is arguably the most complex engineering challenge in the world today, and the lessons learned and the experience of innovative techniques and working practices gained on boats 1-3 will deliver significant benefits to AUDACIOUS and the rest of the class.”
The 7,800 tonne AUDACIOUS will be the fourth of the Astute class, the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever built in Britain for the Royal Navy. The total cost for the first three Astute submarines is £3.65 billion. The MoD aims to contract for the whole boat by late 2008, and detailed terms and conditions will be agreed over the intervening period. Work is expected to start immediately at BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness. The Astute submarines are being delivered to the Royal Navy on an agreed 22 month drumbeat.
Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support said: “AUDACIOUS will join the three other submarines of the same class already under construction at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to the attack submarine programme, as set out in the Defence Industrial Strategy. It also demonstrates our commitment to the Royal Navy, which needs these submarines to fulfil its duties around the globe. It demonstrates the best of British technology and our determination to develop and transform the UK Submarine industry over the coming years."
The rollout for naming and launch of the first of class Astute submarine takes place on June 8, and she will hand over to the customer August 2008, with an in-service date early in 2009.
The Astute Class will be the largest, most capable and widely deployable attack submarines that the Royal Navy has ever operated, and will replace the Swiftsure and Trafalgar Class, which have been in-service since the 1970s and 1980s respectively. The Astute Class will have improved communications systems to support joint operations and an enhanced ability to operate in shallower littoral environments compared with previous classes.