The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a $4.8 billion contract to advance the development of its next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine program.
According to BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn, the agreement allows the company to mature the SSN-AUKUS program’s design and invest in skills and infrastructure to support the U.K.’s national security.
The program intends to employ the combined submarine technologies from Australia, the U.K. and the United States. It is designed to deploy SSN-AUKUS submarines for the Australian and UK naval forces, BAE Systems said.
The organization started work on the program’s initial design phase in 2021.
The MoD funding will support the detailed design stage of the project and the procurement of long-lead items, BAE Systems said.
It will also be used to enhance the defense contractor’s facility in Barrow-in-Furness, England, invest in its supply chain and hire over 5,000 new workers to support the effort.
BAE estimates that actual submarine production will commence by the end of the decade and the first vessel will be delivered in the late 2030s.