Astute move as seventh boat to become Agincourt
The seventh and last in class of Astute SSN submarines will be named Agincourt it has been revealed, following a £1.5 billion ($2 billion) contract awarded to BAE Systems by the UK MoD.
Financial troubles continue to plague the MoD, which looks to have secured the future of critical assets ahead of a capability review expected later this year that could see further cuts enforced by the Treasury.
Once in service, the submarine will be the sixth UK naval vessel to carry the name, which originates from the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 between a then-warring England and France.
A further £900 million was also pledged for the next phase of the Dreadnought SSBN submarine programme, boats that will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent into the next generation and beyond.
The announcement comes after Shephard reported that the future HMS Agincourt build programme was already underway at the BAE Systems facility in Barrow-in-Furness. The Barrow site saw a new manufacturing facility also opened during the visit of Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Defence, on 14 May.
According to a BAE Systems release, certain phases of construction for the Dreadnought class will take place at the new Central Yard Facility, which includes production, workshop and office facilities, measuring 180m long, 90m wide and 44m high.
Construction on the first of four new Dreadnought submarines started in October 2016 and this latest funding will support ongoing design and build activities, procurement of materials and investment in new and existing facilities for a further 12 months.
The Defence Secretary said: ‘HMS Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face.’
Cliff Robson, BAE Systems Submarines managing director, said meanwhile that ‘we continue to make progress on these highly complex and technical programmes’ and the announcement would allow the company to continue with ‘greater certainly and stability’.
The first three submarines in the Astute class – HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful – are in service with the Royal Navy. The fourth, fifth and sixth submarines are also under various stages of construction in Barrow having been previously awarded full contracts.
At 97m long and displacing more than 7,400t , the boats are the largest nuclear-powered attack submarines ever built for the UK’s Royal Navy. By contrast, the Dreadnought class SSBNs will measure 153m long, displacing 17,200t.