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Successor Submarine Programme

Volume 545: debated on Tuesday 22 May 2012

I wish to inform the House that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed contracts, worth approximately £350 million (excluding VAT), for the first 18 months of work on the assessment phase of the Successor submarine programme.

The Successor submarine programme will deliver the replacement for the Vanguard class submarines that carry the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent. Hon. Members will recall that, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), the then Defence Secretary, announced to the House on 18 May 2011, Official Report, columns 351-53 that the programme had obtained its initial gate approval and was commencing its assessment phase leading up to main gate consideration in 2016.

The assessment phase is expected to cost some £3 billion in total, and focuses on design and engineering activities, the purchase of long lead items, preparation for production, technology development, information and knowledge management, and project management. These latest contracts are part of that investment.

To deliver the assessment phase effectively, the MOD has signed a collaborative agreement with the three key suppliers in the UK submarine industry: BAE Systems Maritime—Submarines, Rolls-Royce and Babcock. We have also signed contracts with these companies, which include the first 18 months of assessment phase activities, as the start of a rolling programme of work.

The highest value contract is with BAE Systems Maritime—Submarines: it is worth around £328 million and covers submarine design. The contract with Babcock is worth around £15 million and covers the design aspects of in-service support. In addition a contract amendment with Rolls-Royce has been placed and is worth around £4 million for Successor design work.

These contracts, along with our continued commitment to the Astute submarine programme, will sustain thousands of jobs across the UK submarine industry, and will allow us to maintain this vital capability that underpins the nation’s long-term security.