£3.95bn awarded for next phase of Aukus submarine programme

2 mins read

The Ministry of Defence has awarded £3.95bn of funding to BAE Systems for the next phase of the UK's next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine programme, known as SSN-AUKUS.

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.

Grant Shapps, Defence Secretary, said: “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.

“I’m committed to backing our defence industry, because it’s only with the mission critical support of businesses like BAE Systems that the UK can develop the advanced equipment our Armed Forces need to defend the British people in a more dangerous world.”

Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems’ chief executive, said: "We’re incredibly proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme.

"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."

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 submarines, Dreadnought, with work underway on three of the four new boats.

Delivery of the UK’s submarine programmes is a national endeavour between government and industry. BAE Systems’ Submarines business plays a vital role in the UK economy, particularly in the north west of England.

By the end of this year, its workforce will grow to 12,500, including around new 900 apprentices and graduates. The business plans to recruit an additional 2,700 people next year, which will include a further 900 apprentices and graduates providing a significant employment boost for the region.