A £350m contract to upgrade nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance could safeguard up to 2,000 UK jobs, the defence secretary is due to announce this morning.
Philip Hammond MP is expected to confirm the contract during a visit to Devonport Dockyard, where over 1,000 jobs will be secured.
About 300 more will be sustained at other companies in the Plymouth area, with 700 jobs in the wider supply chain also expected to be saved.
Mr Hammond said: “As well as securing 2,000 UK jobs, this contract will ensure the nuclear deterrent submarine fleet can continue to operate safely and effectively to maintain a continuous at sea deterrent. Devonport Dockyard is at the heart of maintaining and supporting the Royal Navy and I am pleased that such a large number of jobs will be protected.”
The upgrade of HMS Vengeance will begin in a few weeks and will take three and a half years. It will include a new reactor core, improved missile launch equipment and newer computer systems. At the moment, however, this is going to be the last refit performed at Devonport. Unions have asked the government whether it intends to extend the life of the submarines, which would result in more work for the dockyard operations.
Rear Admiral Simon Lister, the MoD’s director of submarines and former commodore of Devonport Naval Base, said: “The highly sophisticated nature of the work involved in the deep maintenance of these magnificent vessels is testament to the experience and skills of the workforce here in Devonport and those in the supply chain across the UK.”
Photo by Joost J. Bakker