in Defence

Over £2bn boost for UK Dreadnought programme

Posted 10 May 2022 · Add Comment

UK defence contracts worth more than £2 billion have been awarded to BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to begin the third major phase of the future submarine nuclear deterrent programme – Dreadnought.

Image courtesy MoD / BAE Systems

Defence contracts worth more than £2 billion have been awarded to BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to begin the third major phase of the future submarine nuclear deterrent programme – Dreadnought.

With the overall programme supporting around 30,000 jobs across the UK, from design through to build, Delivery Phase 3 (DP3) represents the most significant stage of the Dreadnought programme so far. In 2021 alone, it supported around 13,500 jobs in the Northwest of England and a further 16,300 over the rest of the UK, making a significant contribution to the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

The investment is the latest financial commitment between the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce and is the initial investment within a planned overall total of nearly £10 billion for the whole delivery phase.

DP3 will see the first of four submarines, HMS Dreadnought, exit the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard to begin sea trials, laying the foundation to sustain the Continuous at Sea Deterrence (CASD) for as long as the international security situation makes it necessary. It will also allow learning from this phase to be applied to the build and test of later boats.

Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said: "The Dreadnought Class will be crucial to maintaining and safeguarding our national security, with the nuclear deterrent protecting every UK citizen from the most extreme threats, every minute of every day.

"Designed in the UK, built in the UK and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the UK, the Dreadnought programme is a leading example of our commitment to defence manufacturing and will continue to boost British industry for decades to come."

The Dreadnought programme also brings huge benefits to the BAE Systems’ Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge, based at the Barrow-in-Furness site. Opened in 2018, the academy is currently training more than 1,050 apprentices and graduates, with a further 230 craft apprentices, 110 degree apprentices and 90 graduates set to join this year.

Managing Director, BAE Systems Submarines, Steve Timms said: "We take great pride in designing and delivering one of the world’s most advanced engineering programmes and helping to protect national security.

"Today’s funding announcement allows us to maintain the Dreadnought programme’s progress and continue investing in the infrastructure and skills needed to deliver these highly complex submarines to the Royal Navy."

The Dreadnought Class will be one of the most complex machines ever built and it will operate in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

As the largest Class of submarine ever built for the Royal Navy, each will boast 26.4 miles of pipework and more than 20,000 cables stretching 215 miles – further than travelling between London and Leeds.

President of Rolls-Royce Submarines, Steve Carlier said: "Since 1969, Rolls-Royce has proudly provided the nuclear power and expertise that keeps the UK’s continuous nuclear deterrent at sea. This latest contract is a welcome sign of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Submarines Enterprise and all the jobs around the UK that support it."

The four Dreadnought-Class submarines, each the length of three Olympic swimming pools, will maintain the CASD, responsible for safeguarding our national security and way of life, as long as the international security situation makes it necessary.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key said: "We welcome the faith shown in the Royal Navy and our people that submarines remain the optimum means of securely deploying the independent nuclear deterrent. This investment will enable the transition from the Vanguard to Dreadnought-class submarines – an enormous challenge, and one we in the Royal Navy willingly accept.

"We have provided over fifty years of unbroken Continuous At Sea Deterrence and we will ensure that the Royal Navy provides the ultimate guarantee of security for the United Kingdom for the next five decades and beyond."

Looking ahead, a £160 million contract has been awarded to Raytheon UK for the Dreadnought crew training at HM Naval Base Clyde. This will see more high-quality jobs being based on the Clyde, further highlighting the importance of the base and the Dreadnought programme to Scotland and the defence of the UK and its allies.

Chief Executive of Raytheon UK, Jeff Lewis said: "This contract is for a truly transformative submarine training solution and builds on the success that we have had to date in transforming the Royal Navy’s training and learning solutions.

"Our collaborative working culture and experience in managing large and complex training programmes will help equip the Royal Navy with a training capability that underpins the cornerstone of the UK’s strategic defence capability."

Elbit Systems UK has been selected to support in the definition and provision of the integrated training solution of shore-based simulators and training aids for the DCT) programme as part of the Team led by Raytheon UK, as the prime contractor and systems integrator responsible for defining and delivering the training solution into the new Future Submarine School (FSS) in HMNB Faslane, as well as several other Royal Navy training establishments. This will include the delivery and oversight of a new test and reference facility which will allow for all integration and testing.

The solution will be provided to Royal Navy crews prior to deployment onto the new Dreadnought class of submarine, enabling safe and competent operation of the UK’s Continuous At-Sea Deterrent (CASD) whilst deployed.
This selection further expands Elbit Systems UK’s position providing synthetic training for the UK Ministry of Defence with contracts already in place with the British Army and the Royal Navy, most recently a £123 million contract for the Royal Navy’s Future Naval Training Selborne Programme.

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said: “Elbit Systems UK prides itself on its commitment to providing new and innovative solutions to the challenges facing our Armed Forces. The expertise we have in cutting-edge synthetic training capabilities, and how we will deploy this, represents a step-change in the way that major training and transformation programmes are delivered.”

Supporting the UK Government’s levelling-up ambitions, this contract will support the training and development of the Royal Navy men and women who will take to the water when HMS Dreadnought enters service in the early 2030s.

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