BAE Systems lands £4 billion deal for SSN-AUKUS submarine program
The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded £3.95 billion of funding to BAE Systems for the next phase of the UK’s next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine program, known as SSN-AUKUS.
According to the company, SSN-AUKUS will be the largest, most powerful and advanced attack submarines the Royal Navy has ever operated and will eventually replace the Astute class, which BAE Systems builds at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The funding follows the AUKUS announcement in March by the leaders of Australia, the UK and the United States. This will eventually see Australia and the UK operate SSN-AUKUS submarines, which will be based on the UK’s next generation design, incorporating technology from all three nations, including cutting-edge US submarine technologies.
Having started early design work in 2021, the £3.95bn funding will cover development work to 2028, enabling BAE Systems to move into the detailed design phase of the programme and begin to procure long-lead items. Manufacture will start towards the end of the decade with the first SSN-AUKUS boat due to be delivered in the late 2030s.
The award will also fund significant infrastructure investment at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, investment in its supply chain and recruitment of a more than 5,000 people.
“This multi-billion-pound investment in the AUKUS submarine programme will help deliver the long term hunter-killer submarine capabilities the UK needs to maintain our strategic advantage and secure our leading place in a contested global order,” Grant Shapps, Defence Secretary stated.
“This funding reinforces the Government’s support to our UK submarine enterprise and allows us to mature the design, and invest in critical skills and infrastructure to support our long-term national security,” Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems’ Chief Executive noted.
BAE Systems has already delivered five of seven Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy with the remaining two boats at advanced stages of construction.
The company is also designing and building the UK’s next-generation nuclear deterrent submarine, Dreadnought, with work underway on three of the four new boats.