The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth £1.2bn for Audacious, the fourth submarine in the Astute class.
The full contract covers the design, build, test and commissioning programme. First steel was cut in 2007 and Audacious is at an advanced stage of construction at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
John Hudson, submarines managing director at BAE Systems Maritime, said: “This is a very significant milestone for the company as it provides increased stability for the remainder of the programme. More than 5,000 people are employed at Submarines with over half of these directly involved in the Astute programme.”
He added: “The Astute class will deliver to the Royal Navy a fantastic attack submarine capability and both HMS Astute and Ambush are currently demonstrating this while on their sea trials. Audacious, and the rest of the submarines in the Astute class, will eventually complement those already at sea.”
The MoD also confirmed today that a further £1.5bn has been committed to the Astute programme for the remaining three submarines in the class, which includes early build work on boat 5, Anson, whose keel was laid in October 2011.
Audacious will include a number of design changes to the first three submarines in the Astute class. Most relate to the submarine’s combat system – primarily its command, navigation and sonar systems. For the first time on a Royal Navy submarine this will use a shared computer environment for the different systems, common consoles and cabinets, and “commercial off-the-shelf” hard and software.
These changes are due to be implemented on the remaining submarines in the class, and have been back-fitted to Boat 3, Artful.
The 97-mentre long Audacious, the fourth of a planned class of seven submarines, is nearly half way through its build programme with all of its pressure hull units now assembled.