The UK is expected to announce fresh funding for its nuclear submarine programme today, with a combined £2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) spent over across two projects.
Some £1.5 billion will go towards the country’s seventh Astute hunter-killer submarine for the Royal Navy, which will be called Agincourt, while some £960 million will be put towards the second phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is due to make the announcement at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The announcement comes shortly after the UK’s defence spending was criticised by the government’s budget watchdog.
The Commons public accounts committee last week said Ministry of Defence spending plans were simply “not realistic” and could be more than £20 billion over budget.
MPs on the committee said “the Ministry of Defence simply does not have enough money to buy all the equipment it says it needs” and singled out the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system as the biggest risk to its equipment plan.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence plans to spend almost £180 billion on new military equipment over the next decade, including new submarines, warships and aircraft.
Williamson is expected to say today:
This multibillion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our wavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats.
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.
Not only is this a massive boost for our armed forces, but it’s huge for Barrow, the heart of sub-building in this country.
Today’s news supports 8,000 BAE Systems’ submarine jobs, as well as thousands more in the supply chain, protecting prosperity and providing opportunity right across the country.
Alongside the announcement Williamson will officially open a new £100 million sub-construction building at the factory.