£1.2bn BAE submarines deal secures 3,000 jobs

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A £1.2 BILLION contract has been awarded to build the Royal Navy’s new hunter-killer sub­marine, HMS Audacious.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) also announced a further £1.5bn had been committed to the remaining three submarines in the class. The £1.2bn contract with BAE Systems will safeguard 3,000 skilled jobs at Barrow in Cumbria.

Audacious is the fourth of seven Astute Class submarines being built for the navy. They are the most technologically advanced it has ever sent to sea and will progressively replace the Trafalgar Class.

The first two boats, Astute and Ambush, are currently under­going sea trials. The third, Artful, is reaching the final stages of her construction at Barrow shipyard.

Early work has started on boat five, named Anson, while preparation has begun on unnamed boats six and seven.

Last month, it emerged that Astute encountered a flooding problem during sea trials, forcing the nuclear-powered attack vessel to resurface after it let in tens of litres of water.

Electrical switchboards were also found to be fitted incorrectly, while concerns emerged about the accuracy of nuclear reactor monitoring instruments during testing last year.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Our ability to commit an additional £1.5bn for boats five, six and seven underlines the benefits of a balanced budget and fully funded equipment programme that gives our armed forces greater certainty.”

Rear Admiral Simon Lister, MoD director of submarines, added: “The Astute Class will become the jewel in the crown of the Royal Navy’s submarine service and boasts much greater firepower and more advanced sonar and communications than ever before.”

“These submarines … provide the optimum capability a submarine can offer in land strike, strategic intelligence gathering, anti-submarine and surface ship warfare.”