BAE Systems secures $7.48 billion UK funding for AUKUS submarine program

Image credit: BAE Systems

The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded GBP 3.95 billion (AUD 7.48 billion) to BAE Systems to support the next phase of the UK’s next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine program SSN-AUKUS. 

The SSN-AUKUS will be comprised of the largest, most powerful, and most advanced attack submarines in the Royal Navy’s arsenal. The fleet will eventually replace the Astute class, which BAE Systems builds at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. 

The latest funding follows the AUKUS announcement in March by the leaders of Australia, the UK, and the United States. 

Australia and the UK will operate the SSN-AUKUS submarines, which will be based on the UK’s next-generation design, incorporating technology from all three nations, including cutting-edge US submarine technologies. 

BAE Systems began the early design work on the submarine program in 2021 and the latest funding will enable it to continue to development work through 2028. 

The company will now move into the detailed design phase of the program and begin procuring long-lead items. 

Manufacturing work is set to commence towards the end of the decade, with the first SSN-AUKUS boat expected to be delivered in the late 2030s. 

The GBP 3.95 billion funding will also fund significant infrastructure investment at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness. It will also be invested in boosting the company’s supply chain and in the recruitment of more than 5,000 people. 

“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,” said UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps. 

“We’re incredibly proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme. 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,” said Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems’ CEO.

To date, BAE Systems has delivered five of seven Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy with the remaining two boats at advanced stages of construction. 

The company will also design and build the UK’s next-generation nuclear deterrent submarines, Dreadnought, with work underway on three of the four new boats.