The UK Ministry of Defence has given BAE Systems £3.95 billion for the next phase of the SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered attack submarine program.
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, the company said in an official statement.
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.
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 infrastructure investment at BAE Systems' site in Barrow-in-Furness, investment in its supply chain and recruitment of a more than 5,000 people.
In March, Rolls-Royce Submarines was selected to provide nuclear reactor plants for SSN-Aukus vessels, leading to an expansion of its Derby facility in June. Recently, Babcock International also signed a 5-year deal with the Ministry of Defence for SSN-Aukus design work.