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The contract awarded by the MoD to BAE Systems covers the design, build, test and commissioning programme for Audacious, which is currently at an advanced stage of construction following its inception in 2007.
BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines Managing Director, John Hudson commented:
“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 in the Astute programme, many in highly skilled, specialist positions; so the announcement is hugely welcomed.
“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.”
Audacious is the fourth of a planned class of seven submarines, and is now almost halfway through its construction. It will differ from the first three submarines primarily through design changes to its combat system.
For the first time on a Royal Navy submarine, the command, navigation and sonar systems will use a shared computer environment, making the system more effective and easier to maintain and update.
The MoD has also followed up the £1.2 billion contract with a commitment of a further £1.5 billion for the remaining three submarines in the Astute class; the first of which, Anson, had its keel laid in October last year.
With a final length of 97 metres, Astute class submarines boast a range of world class capabilities, including a sophisticated nuclear propulsion system, a sonar system equivalent to the power of 2,000 laptops and can track ships 3,000 miles away.
The submarines are also armed with both Tomahawk land attack missiles and Spearfish torpedoes, with an effective target range of 1,200 miles.