Demolition begins at Barrow site to transform UK submarine building

Barrow site demolition time-lapse August 2014

Buildings have begun to be demolished at BAE Systems in Barrow as part of a £300m-plus redevelopment programme that will transform the way it builds submarines.

Demolition specialists are in the process of flattening certain disused buildings in what is the first significant phase of activity in the large-scale eight-year programme.  The site’s old foundry and boiler shop are the first to be demolished, and it is anticipated that more than 90 per cent of materials such as timber, bricks, sandstone and metals will be recycled.

The demolition follows an announcement made in March by the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, in which he outlined the scope of the investment during an official visit to Barrow.

The programme will support the delivery of a successor to the Vanguard class submarines and will involve the construction of new, state-of-the-art facilities and the refurbishment of existing infrastructure, including:

  • an extension to the Devonshire Dock Hall construction facility to include a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and installation facility
  • 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

BAE Systems is currently building the Astute class – the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever ordered by the UK Royal Navy. The third of those, the 7,400 tonne, 98-metre long Artful, was launched in May, ahead of sea trials in 2015.

The same innovation and engineering expertise responsible for the design of Astute is now being applied to the Vanguard replacement programme.

Allan Day, Head of Programme – Facilities at BAE Systems Submarines, said: “The redevelopment of the site is crucial to meeting the UK Government’s target of having the first Vanguard replacement submarine in service by 2028, so the start of this demolition activity is a significant milestone.    

“The programme is continuing to gain momentum and when the demolition is complete we hope to be in a position to start construction activities in the early part of next year.” 

The demolition of the site’s old foundry and boiler shop will pave the way for new facilities that will house pressure hull units ready for shot blast and paint, and the integration of submarine equipment modules.


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Neil Lauderdale
Communications Manager