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

£235 Million Nuclear Propulsion Deal for Royal Navy

Future of Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute-Class Submarines Ensured

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £235m contract to support nuclear propulsion systems for the Royal Navy’s current fleet of Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute-class submarines.

The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, CBE, MP,  made the announcement during a visit to the Rolls-Royce’s facility at Raynesway, Derbyshire, February 25th.

The multi-million-pound deal with Rolls-Royce Submarines Limited will provide the support, advice and material required to ensure the continued safety and availability of the systems on board the current fleet of Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute class submarines until 2022. The contract will sustain around 500 UK jobs.

The Royal Navy’s four Trafalgar-class attack submarines were designed to meet the demands of the Cold War, but have been adapted to the demands of the 21st century. The primary role was to hunt out and destroy enemy nuclear missile submarines as well as surface ships, over the decades they have been kitted out to perform other roles including covert surveillance and inshore reconnaissance of installations and landing beaches The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This year we mark half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began their continuous patrol of waters around the world. This significant milestone for the Royal Navy would not be possible without the skills and ingenuity of our industry partners who supply and maintain equipment. Rolls-Royce plays a critical role in supporting our submarines and I’m pleased this contract will sustain 500 highly-skilled jobs that help protect our country.”

In December 2018, the Defence Secretary announced a £400m funding boost for the Dreadnought programme alongside a £25m BAE Systems academy that will upskill employees working on Royal Navy submarines. The continued progress of the £31bn Dreadnought programme ensures the protection and defence provided by the UK’s nuclear deterrent for decades to come. The Dreadnought Class submarines will enter service in the 2030s.

Submarine Delivery Agency CEO, Ian Booth said:

“This contract is vital to enable the continued safety and readiness of the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines, and its signing demonstrates the ongoing successful partnership between the Submarine Delivery Agency and industry. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent and we look forward to continuing to work with our suppliers to support this national endeavour.”

The four Vanguard-class submarines form the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent force.
Each of the four boats are armed with Trident 2 D5 nuclear missiles.

The new Nuclear Propulsion Lifetime Management contract will provide vital support to the delivery of the Continuous-at-Sea Deterrent, which reaches the 50th anniversary milestone this year. The jobs sustained by this contract will be predominantly at Rolls-Royce in Derby and satellite offices at HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport.

The contract forms part of a wider suite of contracts with Rolls-Royce to provide naval reactor plant design, support, advice and components to the submarine build programme and provide enabling services such as infrastructure and IT.

Rolls-Royce Submarines President, Steve Dearden said:

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrence and the 60th year of Rolls-Royce involvement in the naval nuclear propulsion programme. The NPLM contract will enable the continuation of our close work with the SDA to deliver Submarine operations for the Royal Navy. This new contract includes exciting innovative technology employing Rolls-Royce’s digital capability which will enhance the service we provide and we look forward to continuing our support for the next 50 years.”


Source: MOD

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