Royal Navy Astute-Class Submarine HMS Ambush, returning to HMNB Clyde, Scotland, 15 July 2013 (Crown Copyright)

New Contract for Royal Navy’s HMS Agamemnon

£1.4 billion Deal for Royal Navy’s New Attack Submarine

The submarine, named Agamemnon, is part of the Astute Class, the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever to enter service with the Royal Navy. The submarines are being built by BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, which employs around 8,000 people in its submarines business, with thousands more working in the UK submarine supply chain.

The new contract guarantees a better deal for the UK taxpayer and for the Armed Forces, with an incentivised contract arrangement that will help to save money and demands the best possible work from industry.

The Royal Navy’s Most Advanced Submarines

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines. These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world.

 Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine build programmes providing high skilled jobs for years to come.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon with BAE Systems apprentices inside Devonshire Dock Hall where HMS Agamemnon is under construction.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon with BAE Systems apprentices inside Devonshire Dock Hall where HMS Agamemnon is under construction. Picture: Michael Vallance, BAE Systems.

Construction of the 7,400 tonne, 97-metre long Agamemnon began in 2012, and is well underway in the Devonshire Dock Hall at Barrow, alongside Boat 5 – Anson – and the yet-to-be-named Boat 7 [HMS Ajax]. Their sister submarines, HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful are already in service with the Royal Navy, contributing to operations around the globe.

The Royal Navy’s Astute Class of Attack Submarines

The Astute-class programme began in the 1980s. To counter the growing power and sophistication of Soviet submarines during the Cold War, the MOD initiated a number of studies (project SSN20) intended to determine the capabilities and requirements for the replacement of its current Swiftsure and Trafalgar-class submarine fleets. The end of the Cold War reduced the necessity for the new submarines, but as the existing fleet continued to age, the programme was restarted and the first boat, HMS Astute, was laid down in 2001.

HMS Astute

S119. Laid down 31 January 2001. Launched 8 June 2007. Commissioned 27 August 2010.

HMS Ambush

S120. Laid down 22 October 2003. Launched 6 January 2011. Commissioned 1 March 2013.

HMS Artful

S121. Laid Down 11 March 2005. Launched 17 May 2014. Commissioned 18 March 2016.

HMS Audacious

S122. laid Down 24 march 2009. Launch planned for 2017. Commissioning planned for 2018.

HMS Anson

S124. Laid down 13 October 2011. No launch date, but commissioning expected in 2020.

HMS Agamemnon

S124. Laid down 18 July 2013. No launch date, commissioning expected in 2022.

HMS Ajax

S125. Not yet laid down. No launch date, but commissioning expected in 2024.

Year of the Royal Navy Gets Better and Better

Rear Admiral Paul Methven, Director Submarines Acquisition for the Submarine Delivery Agency, said:

The signature of this contract secures another world-class nuclear submarine for the Royal Navy. These are the most technologically advanced submarines we have ever operated, offering much greater firepower, better communications and more advanced stealth technology than their predecessors. Today marks another significant milestone for the Astute programme, that demonstrates the UK’s ability to deliver complex engineering projects, providing a fleet of submarines which will protect the UK’s interests around the globe.

Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, the Astute Class submarines can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as they go. They also have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances despite being 50 per cent bigger than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines which are being replaced by the Astute Class.

Read more about plans for the Royal Navy in 2017.

BAE Systems Proud Builders for the Royal Navy

Will Blamey, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said:

Securing the contract for the sixth Astute class submarine is a significant milestone for BAE Systems and the result of many years of hard work by our highly skilled workforce. The Astute class submarines are amongst the most highly capable and technologically advanced in the world and we’re immensely proud to build them for the Royal Navy.

Alongside work on the Astute Class, BAE Systems is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.

Source: MOD (Crown Copyright, OGL)

Photo: HMS Ambush returning to HMNB Clyde in Scotland (Crown Copyright).

The seven Astute Class boats planned for introduction to the Royal Navy are the most advanced and powerful attack submarines Britain has ever sent to sea. Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, the vessels will never need to be refuelled and are capable of circumnavigating the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as she goes. The Astute Class are also quieter than any of her predecessors and have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected, despite being fifty percent larger in size than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines.

HMS Ambush, second of the nuclear-powered Astute Class attack submarines, was named in Barrow on 16 December 2010 and launched on 5 January 2011.

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