Defence contracts worth over £2bn have been awarded to BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to begin the third major phase of the Dreadnought submarine nuclear deterrent programme.
The UK Government said the announcement demonstrated how defence spending contributed to delivering thousands of high-skilled jobs and investment in Scotland.
According to the Ministry of Defence, delivery phase 3 (DP3) represents the “most significant” stage of the Dreadnought programme so far.
DP3 will see the first of four submarines, HMS Dreadnought, exit the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard to begin sea trials, laying the foundation to sustain the Continuous at Sea Deterrence (CASD) based in Scotland at HM Naval Base Clyde for “as long as the international security situation makes it necessary”.
It will “support the training and development of the Royal Navy men and women” who will serve when HMS Dreadnought enters operations in the 2030s.
Managing director of BAE Systems Submarines, Steve Timms said: “The Dreadnought Class will be one of the most complex machines ever built and it will operate in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.
“As the largest Class of submarine ever built for the Royal Navy, each will boast 26.4 miles of pipework and more than 20,000 cables stretching 215 miles – further than travelling between London and Leeds.”
In 2021, the project supported around 13,500 jobs in the Northwest of England and a further 16,300 over the rest of the UK, making a significant contribution to the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
Dreadnought class ballistic submarines are the largest-ever built for the Royal Navy and will carry the UK’s nuclear weapons, replacing the Vanguard class currently in use.
According to BAE Systems, each submarine is 153.6 metres long, more than the length of three Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Defence procurement minister, Jeremy Quin said: “The Dreadnought Class will be crucial to maintaining and safeguarding our national security, with the nuclear deterrent protecting every UK citizen from the most extreme threats, every minute of every day.”
UK Government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This announcement shows that defence not only plays a crucial part in the security of the United Kingdom and its allies but also contributes significantly to delivering high-skilled jobs and investment in Scotland.
“The Dreadnought programme will continue to see our nuclear deterrent and expertise based at HM Naval Base Clyde. UK defence procurement spend is worth almost £2bn a year to Scotland and the prosperity generated by the employment this creates is helping us level up across the UK.”