The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) has allocated $4.8 billion to BAE Systems for the next stage of the UK and Australia’s next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine program, known as SSN-AUKUS.
The funding follows the AUKUS announcement in March, with Australia and the UK operating these submarines based on the UK’s next-generation design and incorporating technology from all three nations, including US submarine technologies.
The $4.8 billion in funding will support development work until 2028, enabling BAE Systems to transition to the detailed design phase and begin procuring long-lead items.
Manufacturing for the UK is set to commence in 2030, with the first SSN-AUKUS submarine due in the late 2030s, while the first Australian submarines are expected to arrive in the early 2040s.
The SSN-AUKUS submarines will stand as the largest, most potent, and technologically advanced attack submarines ever operated by both the Royal Australian Navy and the British Royal Navy.
In the future, they will take over from the UK’s Astute class, currently manufactured by BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, as well as the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarines and the Virginia-class boats Australia will be leasing from the US.
“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 Grant Shapps, UK’s Defense Secretary.
I’m committed to backing our defense industry, because it’s only with the mission critical support of businesses like BAE Systems that the UK can develop the advanced equipment our Armed Forces need to defend the British people in a more dangerous world,” he added.
In addition to BAE Systems, two other key contractors contribute to the SSN-AUKUS program. Rolls Royce is responsible for supplying nuclear reactors for SSN-AUKUS vessels, while Babcock is engaged in a five-year design input agreement with the UK MOD for SSN-AUKUS and has recently partnered with HII to support capability requirements for the program.