BAE Systems confirmed that it has been awarded a £3.95 billion ($7.5 billion AUD) contract from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, enabling the company to move into the detailed design phase of the SSN-AUKUS.
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BAE Systems, together with Rolls-Royce and Babcock, have been awarded £4 billion in contracts for the Detailed Design and Long Leads Phase for the SSN-AUKUS.
According to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, the contracts will progress the SSN-AUKUS program through the design, prototyping and purchase of main long lead components for the first UK submarines.
The design of the SSN-AUKUS will be used by the Royal Australian Navy.
It is expected to enable construction to begin “in the coming years”, with the first Australian vessels scheduled to commence construction in the early 2040s.
Under plans confirmed by the Commonwealth, Australia and the United Kingdom will both operate SSN-AUKUS submarines which will incorporate technology from all tripartite members.
The global defence contractor detailed that design work started in 2021, with the most recent contract covering development until 2028. Construction of the British boats are scheduled to commence toward the end of the decade.
The first submarine expected for delivery in the late 2030s.
UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps explained that the SSN-AUKUS will be fundamental for securing Britain’s place in the global order.
“This multi-billion-pound investment in the AUKUS submarine programme will help deliver the long term hunter-killer submarine capabilities the UK needs to maintain our strategic advantage and secure our leading place in a contested global order,” SEC Shapps detailed.
“I’m committed to backing our defence industry, because it’s only with the mission critical support of businesses like BAE Systems that the UK can develop the advanced equipment our Armed Forces need to defend the British people in a more dangerous world.”
The SSN-AUKUS will replace the United Kingdom’s Astute Class, which BAE Systems builds at their Barrow-in-Furness site.
BAE has to date delivered five Astute class submarines, with two more in advanced stages of construction. They are also building the UK’s Dreadnaught class, with work underway for three of the next-generation nuclear deterrent submarines.
“We’re incredibly proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme,” Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE Systems said.
“This funding reinforces the Government’s support to our UK submarine enterprise and allows us to mature the design, and invest in critical skills and infrastructure to support our long-term national security.”