LONDON — Britain’s Defence Ministry has increased spending on the assessment phase for a new generation of Royal Navy nuclear missile submarines.
The £285 million (US $429 million) deal primarily involves BAE Systems, but nuclear power plant builder Rolls-Royce and support provider Babcock also have small contracts.
The deal covers the final phase of design work on the successor submarines to the four Vanguard-class Trident missile boats currently providing Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The subs are planned to begin entering service in 2028.
A decision is due next year by the new government on whether to go ahead and build the new missile boats.
“The successor program is the largest and most complex project we have ever faced. This funding will now allow us to mature the design over the next 12 months to enable us to start construction in 2016,” said Tony Johns, the managing director at BAE Systems’ Submarines.
More than £2 billion had been spent on the submarine’s concept and assessment phase work by the end of the financial year 2013/2014 and that total continues to grow as part of a planned £3.3 billion spend ahead of approval for construction.
Replacing the nuclear deterrent is the single largest procurement program of the next decade or so.
Read More:UK Boosts Submarine Assessment Funding.