In a ceremony today, the steel has been cut on Warspite, the third of four new Dreadnought Class submarines, currently in build at BAE Systems’ Barrow-in-Furness site.
Supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, with 13,500 in the north-west of England specifically, this manufacturing milestone marks significant progress in one of the most complex engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK.
With 605 apprentices and 126 graduates also currently based in Barrow-in-Furness, the Dreadnought programme brings huge benefits to the BAE Systems’ Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge, training the next generation of high-skilled engineers to build and maintain the UK’s submarine capability into the future.
Defence Procurement Minister, Alex Chalk KC, said:
Our nuclear deterrent protects every UK citizen from the most extreme threats, every minute of every day, and progress on the Dreadnought Class is crucial to maintaining our national security.
This milestone is a significant step forward in the Dreadnought programme, supporting thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the country, and protecting the UK and our allies for decades to come.
Comprising four new ballistic nuclear submarines, Dreadnought, Valiant, Warspite and King George VI, the Dreadnought Class will replace the Vanguard Class fleet.
Work will now continue on Warspite, alongside the first two boats – Dreadnought and Valiant – incorporating some of the most advanced systems ever built and using world-leading technology to deliver an effective and intensely formidable capability.
Rear Admiral Donald Doull, Senior Responsible Officer, Dreadnought, said:
Today is an important step in the ongoing delivery of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent. It is a key milestone for the Programme’s mission to replace the current Vanguard Class submarines with four Dreadnought Class submarines, enabling their successful entry into service.
Successful delivery of the Dreadnought Programme is a challenge that will take the determined effort of everybody with a responsibility for supporting the Programme – getting to this milestone is a huge achievement, which reflects the personal and collective commitment of all concerned.
With each submarine approximately 153.6 metres – around the length of three Olympic swimming pools – each boat will also boast 26.4 miles of pipework and more than 20,000 cables stretching 215 miles – further than travelling between London and Leeds.
The Dreadnought submarines, which will start to enter service from the early 2030s, will protect not only our own vital interests but also those of our closest allies against the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life.
Managing Director, BAE Systems Submarines, Steve Timms said:
Today’s milestone is a really significant moment for the thousands of employees here at BAE Systems and across the submarines enterprise who are working together to deliver the Dreadnought Class.
We are immensely proud of the role we play in delivering this truly national endeavour for the Royal Navy and our contribution to protecting national security.