£300M facilities investment will transform UK submarine building

Foundations for the future
More than £300M will be invested in the BAE Systems Barrow-in-Furness site, in a major redevelopment that will transform its submarine building capabilities.

The eight-year programme, which will employ approximately 850 contractors at its peak, includes both new build facilities and the refurbishment of existing infrastructure in preparation for the construction of a successor to the Vanguard class.

Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, said: “Redevelopment of the site is fundamental to the future of our business and will ensure we stay at the forefront of submarine design, build, test and commissioning.

“This investment will provide a modern, 21st century environment for our employees to apply the unique skills and expertise that have delivered complex submarines to the UK Royal Navy for over a century.

“The Successor programme, to replace the Vanguard class submarines, remains subject to final approval in 2016, but it is vital we begin these improvements now in order to achieve the Government's target of having the first submarine in service by 2028.”

Demolition of some existing buildings will start in April. This will be the first major activity of a programme that will include:

  • an extension to the Devonshire Dock Hall construction facility to include a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and installation facility
  • two new major buildings that will house pressure hull units ready for shot blast and paint and the integration of submarine equipment modules
  • the refurbishment of the site’s main fabrication facility, together with its existing plant and machinery
  • an intention to build a 28,000m2 off-site logistics facility to store submarine parts and materials within the local area                                                                 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said  “Barrow has a proven track record of designing and building submarines with a battle winning edge for the Royal Navy. The world leading engineering skills that are currently delivering the Astute class are vital to ensure we can deliver the submarines of the future.

“The next generation nuclear-deterrent submarines that will be built in Barrow will be the largest and most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy. The £300m of infrastructure work that will take place over the coming years will not only protect 6,000 highly skilled jobs at the site, but also provide hundreds of additional construction jobs.”

We are leading on the design of the Successor submarine, working alongside the MoD, Rolls Royce and Babcock on a programme that now employs over 3,000 people – of which approximately 1,300 are from BAE Systems.

Today’s announcement coincides with news that steel has been cut on the seventh and final Astute class submarine and a Submarine Design Services contract worth £23M awarded to BAE Systems by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide support to in-service submarines.

“This is both an exciting and challenging time for the business,” added Tony Johns. “Cutting steel on the seventh Astute class is hugely significant and is another step forward in the programme to equip the Royal Navy with the cutting edge submarine capability it requires.

“Meanwhile, the Submarine Design Services contract underlines the MoD’s confidence in our ability to help ensure its submarines are ready for operational service.”         

We are the prime contractor in the Astute programme - one of the most complex engineering challenges in the world today. Seven nuclear powered attack submarines are being designed, built and commissioned for the Royal Navy at the company’s site in Barrow-in-Furness. The first two – HMS Astute and HMS Ambush – have been handed over to the Royal Navy, while the remaining five are now in various stages of construction.

Under the five-year, £23M Submarine Design Services contract, BAE Systems will provide expert analysis on technical matters, together with support to design upgrades to meet emerging capability demands - principally for the Astute class, but with scope to apply Astute build experience to support the Vanguard and Trafalgar classes.

The contract also covers the provision of updates to electronic technical documents for the Astute class.

It sits alongside similar MoD in-service support arrangements with Babcock and Rolls Royce and aims to make savings through collaborative working as part of the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme (SEPP).

We have people based at the MoD's Abbey Wood site and Clyde Naval Base as well as in Barrow and Filton to deliver this contract.