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Vanguard Class Replacement - the successor submarine

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Government on 18 May 2011 approved initial gate for the successor submarine programme to replace the The Vanguard class that currently delivers continuously at sea strategic deterrent patrols.

Earlier on 14 March 2007 they followed up a December 2006 White Paper on the future of the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent by giving the go ahead for a new fleet of  missile carrying submarines.

The Keep our Future Afloat Campaign welcomed the Government's decision which means a new class of submarines will be built, with 3 or 4 boats at a cost of £15-£20 billion at current prices.


OHIO Replacement Program - Presented to the 2012 Navy Submarine League.

EXTRACT MOD The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Reporthttp://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7F9F5815-C67B-47B1-B5C4-168E8AB50DC3/0/submarine_initial_gate.pdf


  • We have now decided on the outline submarine design at the stage in the programme known as Initial Gate. ... the Assessment Phase .. will finalise the design and start to prepare for the main build. There is Agreement with the United States on the major parameters of the jointly-developed common missile compartment design.
  • We expect the overall successor programme to remain within the White Paper cost envelope of £15-20 Billion at 2006/7 prices with the replacement platform(boats) costing £11-14Bn (at 2006/7 prices) . Assuming a four boat fleet, the replacement submarines will remain within the £11-14Bn estimate. This equates to £25Bn at outturn prices for the successor submarines. Since Parliamentary approval to replace our nuclear deterrent in 2007 the MOD has spent around £900M.
  • Between now and Main Gate in 2016 we expect to spend a further £3Bn(15% of the outturn cost of the submarines)
  • The work to date has given us a broad design, drawing as heavily as possible on proven Astute Class technologies and on the joint US/UK programme to develop a common missile compartment which will house the Trident strategic weapon system.
  • The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrentwill be powered by a nuclear propulsion system known as Pressurised Water Reactor 3,..to ensure our future nuclear armed submarines have the performance required to deliver our minimum credible nuclear deterrent out until the 2060s..
  • 2016 the Main Gate decision point(... is the most suitable time to decide on the number of submarines required)
  • Successor boats will have a 25 year life with the option of at least a five year extension and suitably low detectability; proven Astute Class technologies A number of systems from the Astute Class design have been incorporated within the design of the successor submarine. This ‘pull through’ of proven technology reduces costs as well as design and delivery risk
  • PWR3 is a new design that exploits technology that was not available when the Astute design was finalised. PWR3 provides superior performance over PWR2. Submarines with PWR3 are around £50 Million per boat more expensive to buy and operate over designs incorporating PWR2 over a 25 year life. Through simpler design it is easier to operate, has a longer in-service life and lower through-life maintenance costs. In addition the introduction of the new design means that it is practicable to implement further improvements to safety.
  • The Common Missile Compartment (CMC).the cost of the missile compartment will be minimised by keeping as much of the design as possible common with the US. The baseline design for the CMC is a 12 tube unit and work is ongoing with the US to look at how best to include our requirement for eight operational missiles into this design.


Assessment phase work 2011 to 2015

  • Design and engineering: In line with best practice a design level of around 70% maturity will be reached across the overall submarine design
  • Long lead items:

-£380M for the first boat split between the propulsion, main boat systems and steel;

-- £145M for the second boat for propulsion systems; and,

-- £6M for the third boat also for propulsion systems

  • Production preparation: The replacement submarines are considerably larger than the Astute Class submarines currently being built. Some increases will be required in the shipyard’s workforce, facilities and equipment
  • Technology development: new or emerging technology is planned including communications, tactical weapons systems, batteries and structural materials.
  • Information and knowledge management: Improvements in design software and shared working environments will enable secure exchange of data
  • Project management: An Integrated Programme Management Team (IPMT) will be established to oversee the work schedule, costs and risks and to manage relationships between MOD and the main industry partners.


  • Working with Industry 2011-2015 Under the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme (SEPP) initiative the three Tier 1 industrial suppliers will work collaboratively with the MOD to transform the submarine enterprise’s ability to deliver effectively. key objectives are:

· Sustainability Secured: We must retain the capability to design, build and support nuclear submarines and meet the commitment for a successor to the Vanguard Class submarines;

· Cost Down: realise significant savings through rationalisation of facilities + an inclusive approach to design, build and support improved contracting;

· Performance Up: We must work together to improve delivery in terms of performance, cost and time.


<pThe submarine is only one aspect of the replacement plan
  • Warhead- The current warhead design is now planned to continue in service until the 2030s


  • Infrastructure- We will spend around £8M over the next three years to study in detail the requirement for investment in our infrastructure.

Background information

A Successor submarine carrying existing missiles will enable the UK's deterrent to remain effective in the long term to counter any emerging threats to UK security.

It can take up to 15-17 years to design and develop new submarine based delivery systems. That is why replacement needs to be delivered from now.The Secretary of State for Defence, on 29 Mar 2010  said

"We are continuing to target an in-service date for the first Trident successor submarine of 2024, as set out in the 2006 White Paper 'The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent' (Cm6994). The precise delivery schedule will be determined at Main Gate, currently scheduled for 2015/16.

The Ministry of Defence and industry are evaluating the lessons from the first boats in the Astute programme and will ensure that there is appropriate sequencing between the Astute and successor programmes to ensure that continuous at sea deterrence can be maintained. We do not expect delays in the Astute programme to affect the timetable for the delivery of the Trident successor submarines".(Hansard, Column 645W)

The 2006 White Paper on the future of the Strategic Deterrent also stated that "the boats will be built in the UK but this is dependent on proposals from industry that provide the right capability at the right time and offer value for money as set out in the DIS."

Adoption of the Submarine Enterprise Collaborative Agreement will help ensure the submarines are UK built. 

The KOFAC Chairman said:

"The Prime Minister’s announcement that Britain should maintain our nuclear deterrent by building a new class of submarines, involving four new submarines to carry the existing strategic deterrent and maintain the policy of continually at sea patrols is warmly welcomed." (5 December 2006)

"We wholeheartedly agree with the Government’s White Paper conclusions that this country needs to protect its security over the next 20-50 years, because traditional threats from other countries with large nuclear arsenals as well as new sources of threats are emerging. KOFAC supports the white Paper conclusion that retaining a submarine based system provides the most effective deterrent."(5 December 2006)

“... the project is vitally important for Barrow and for the whole of the UK submarine industrial base which employs over 20,000 people  in well paid jobs”.(5 December 2006)


Trident Submarines Contract Packages Ministerial Statement and Astute Programme Recent Statements December 3rd 2013 and 17 January 2014


HANSARD 3 Dec 2013 : Column 639W Trident Submarines

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each of the contracts currently placed by his Department to develop a replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine which is covered by commercial confidentiality restrictions on disclosure of contract details

Mr Dunne: There is a standard Defence Condition (DEFCON 521) on the disclosure of information that is mandated for all Ministry of Defence (MOD) contracts. This condition places duties of confidentiality on both parties to the contract, but makes clear that the MOD is required to comply with its statutory duties. When requests are received for contract details, decisions on their disclosure are made on a case by case basis, taking account of the commercial sensitivity, as well as other applicable exemptions and exceptions.

The list of contracts to develop the replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine will take time to prepare. I will write, to the extent possible, while not breaching commercial confidentiality or national security considerations, to the hon. Member with this information.


Substantive answer from Philip Dunne to Paul Flynn:

In my written answer to your Parliamentary Question on 20(th) November 2013, (Official Report, column 918W), I promised to write to you with a list of contracts relating to the replacement for the Vanguard Class submarines. I am now in a position to supply you with the following list of contracts:




Design Phase—BAES


Design Phase—Babcock


Design Phase—Rolls Royce


Design Phase—Collaboration


Mast Raising


Submarine Communications Technology Demonstrator Programme


Retention of Astute Test Rig


Submarine Communications


Safety and Environment


Strategic Weapon System Safety


Strategic Weapon System Requirements


Pressure Hull Materials


Pressure Hull Glands


Foreign and Commonwealth Office Services


Composites Programme (Technology Demonstrator Programme)


Successor Facilities—Barrow


Extension Engineering Assurance


Costs and Tools




Requirements and Standards


Technical Assurance and Non Acoustic Signature


Electrical Actuator Future Work


Equipment Security Grading


Electro Magnetic Silencing


Electro Magnetic Silencing


Successor Stage 3 Environmental Shock Grade Curve Activities


Spatial Governance Technical Support


Variable Pressure Hydraulics Decision Support


Electromagnetic Silencing


Countermeasures Deployment Studies


Support to Signature Management


Core Task


Composite Task


Adviser Team to Future Submarine


Signature support to Future Submarine Project Team


Future Capability Support


Infrastructure Assessment Study


Capability System Requirement Document


Technology Assessment of Countermeasure Launcher capability


Provision of Signature Support


Provision of Subject Matter Expert Support


Submarine Communications Subject Matter Expert Technical Support


Successor Propulsor and Hydrodynamics


Independent Technical and Programme Support


Electrical and Whole Boat


Multi Function Broad Spectrum Array and Future Telemetry System trials


Next Generation Nuclear Propulsion Plant Phase 9


Next Generation Nuclear Propulsion Plant Phase 10 onwards


Independent Nuclear Propulsion Advice and Assessment


Submarines Support Partner Task


17 Jan 2014 : Column 695W Astute Class Submarines

Angus Robertson:

Mr Dunne: As stated in the National Audit Office Major Projects Report 2012 (HC 684-1), the in-service dates for the remaining submarines in the Astute class are shown in the following table:


In-service date

Boat 3 (Artful)


Boat 4 (Audacious)


Boat 5 (Anson)


Boat 6 (Agamemnon)


Boat 7


The actual launch date for each boat is agreed between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems Maritime—Submarines, the prime contractor. It marks the point in the build process when the boat is ready to exit the boat build hall and enter the water for the first time. On current plans, Boat 3 is due to leave the build hall in spring 2014. The launch dates for Boats 4 to 7 are yet to be agreed.



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"Barrow remains an untapped source of production capability and could... play a significant role in the coming shipbuilding programme."

Source: Rand, page 153 The UK's Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Base (2005), Report to UK MoD

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