U.K. to Spend Nearly $500M Readying Shipyard to Build Ballistic-Missile Subs

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Global Security Newswire Staff
March 14, 2014, 9:03 a.m.

Lon­don will spend nearly $500 mil­lion ready­ing a shipyard to build a new fleet of stra­tegic sub­mar­ines, even though the ves­sels have yet to be form­ally ap­proved.

After the next U.K. gen­er­al elec­tion, the Brit­ish gov­ern­ment will de­cide in 2016 wheth­er to go ahead with a “like-for-like” plan for mod­ern­iz­ing the na­tion’s sea-based nuc­le­ar de­terrent force. Des­pite the lack of “fi­nal gate” ap­prov­al for the plan, the Con­ser­vat­ive Party-led gov­ern­ment has already spent more than $1 bil­lion on design-re­lated work for the new bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines.

The $498.5 mil­lion be­ing in­ves­ted to up­grade man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­it­ies at the Bar­row-in-Fur­ness shipyard is com­ing al­most en­tirely from the gov­ern­ment, a De­fense Min­istry spokes­wo­man ac­know­ledged to De­fense News for a Thursday re­port.

The cur­rent min­istry plan to re­place four re­tir­ing Van­guard-class sub­mar­ines with an equal num­ber of re­place­ment Suc­cessor-class ves­sels, sim­il­arly armed with Tri­dent D-5 nuc­le­ar mis­siles, is es­tim­ated to come with a total price tag in ex­cess of $30 bil­lion in de­vel­op­ment­al, ac­quis­i­tion and main­ten­ance-re­lated costs.

“The Suc­cessor pro­gram, to re­place the Van­guard-class sub­mar­ines, re­mains sub­ject to fi­nal ap­prov­al in 2016, but it is vi­tal we be­gin these im­prove­ments now in or­der to achieve the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of hav­ing the first sub­mar­ines in ser­vice by 2028,” said Tony Johns, man­aging dir­ect­or of BAE Sys­tems Mari­time-Sub­mar­ines.


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