UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced a £400 million ($510 million) funding boost for the Dreadnought programme, as he opened a new training academy and revealed the name of the second Dreadnought submarine.
The planned funding release, which supports the building phase of the programme, came as the Defence Secretary unveiled a £25 million BAE Systems academy that will upskill employees to work on Royal Navy submarines for the next two decades.
The £400million investment will safeguard more than 8,000 jobs in Barrow and across the UK, which are all supported by the £31billion Dreadnought programme and supply chain.
The announcement was made during the Defence Secretary’s visit to BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, where he also named the second Dreadnought submarine as HMS Valiant.
“Next year marks half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began patrolling the waters in response to the danger posed by the Cold War – and the world is again facing a raft of intensifying threats,” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said.
“This £400m investment will ensure the Dreadnought programme remains on track, so we continue to have a nuclear deterrent at sea for decades to come. Not only does today’s news see us safeguard 8,000 jobs right now, but I have also opened a brand new multi-million-pound facility to train Britain’s submarine engineers of the future,” also added Gavin Williamson.
The last vessel to carry the name HMS Valiant was the second Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine.
Launched in 1963, she took part in the Navy’s first tactical exercise under the Arctic ice and played an important role in the Falklands War, deterring the Argentine surface fleet from closing the islands.
The latest investment comes after £960 million worth of contracts were announced in May to ramp up the current phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.
The Submarine Academy for Skills and Knowledge will provide around 2,500 people a month – including 600 apprentices from across industry and the Ministry of Defence – with invaluable skills and training to benefit the work carried out on the Dreadnought and Astute submarine programmes.