Ben Wallace quizzed over submarine pact with Australia

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Design work of Royal Navy submarines is already underway, with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce undertaking the concept.

The firms received two contracts worth £85million each for the project.

The project will see 350 jobs supported in the process over the next three years.

The contracts will deliver design work to replace the approach for the current Astute Class submarines, the nuclear-powered fleet of submarines (SSNs) currently use by Britain’s Royal Navy.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Marking the start of a new journey for the Royal Navy’s submarines, British designers and engineers will lead the way in developing submarines for our Royal Navy.

“This multi-million-pound investment ensures that this vital capability will be ready to replace our Astute Class submarines as they come out of service, whilst supporting high-skilled jobs across the Midlands and North West of England.”

These new contracts will play an important role in UK shipbuilding, and the Defence Secretary has expressed a commitment to supporting the UK shipbuilding and maritime industries.

These new contracts are part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson plan to boost UK defence, with a £24billion increase in defence spending across four years,

These contracts build upon earlier commitments outlined in a recent Defence Command Paper that promised the Royal Navy has a world-leading underwater capability to prepare Britain well for potential future threats.

Submarine Delivery Agency CEO, Ian Booth said: “Designing and building submarines is one of the most complex and challenging feats of engineering that the maritime industry undertakes.

“It is essential that work on the next generation underwater capability commences as early as possible. This relies on some of the nation’s most experienced defence nuclear experts from the very beginning of the design phase.”

Industry organisations, including Babcock International, are working closely with the Ministry of Defence to improve early design work on a variety of options for a new crewed nuclear-powered submarine known as the Submersible Ship Nuclear Replacement (SSNR).

The contract with BAE Systems in Barrow will need about 250 roles at the shipyard to develop the platform design and delivery arrangements.

At Rolls Royce in Derby, around 100 jobs are expected to be provided through the contract for the development of the Nuclear Steam Raising Plant and the production arrangements.

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Mr Johnson has previously said that “once-in-a-generation modernisation” is needed to expand British influence and protect the public.

In November 2020, he announced a new four-year deal would protect “hundreds of thousands” of jobs and create 40,000 new jobs.

He said: “I have decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now”.

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