The coalition government is to spend £350m on contracts this week on the design and manufacturing processes of next-generation submarines and missile systems to replace the UK's current nuclear deterrent, Trident.
British manufacturers across the country are waiting in anticipation, eager to know whether or not they will be awarded one of the many contracts on offer for the sizeable and expensive upgrade.
Companies expected to secure the main and most profitable contracts are BAE Systems and Rolls Royce, as they already have the production base and expertise in the area. As well as the bigger British companies benefiting from the upgrade, smaller companies within the supply chain will benefit, and the Ministry of Defence has estimated that around 1,900 jobs could be created in the UK.
While the Government has said that the money is there to be spent, it has been left unclear as to how many new submarines will be built. Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat armed forces minister is said to be considering cheaper alternatives. The Lib Dems are mainly averse to the upgrading, and have had to swallow the policy in order to keep relationships between the two coalition partners stable.
Although the first of the four submarines in service was planned to retire in 2022 as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) this was extended to 2028.
Fractures in the Coalition have been evident over the issue since the formation of government over two years ago, but the Tories are steadfast in their committment to a full renewal of Trident submarines by 2028 at a cost of £20bn.