The Ministry of Defence has announced a £300 million upgrade programme for the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness to allow construction of new 'Successor' class Trident replacement submarines.
The eight year programme includes plans for building an extension to the Devonshire Dock Hall, where submarines are assembled, as well as refurbishment of the site's fabrication facility and construction of a warehouse facility and two more new buildings.
Construction of the new infrastructure is necessary to allow Successor submarines to be built at Barrow alongside five Astute class submarines which the government has ordered for the Royal Navy.
If built, Successor class submarines will be the largest submarines ever to enter service with the Royal Navy and the spending programme is intended to allow construction of new, larger, facilities able to accommodate the new submarine.
At 17,000 tonnes, Successor submarines will be much larger than the 7,500 tonne Astute class submarines, corresponding to a 50 per cent increase in length and a 20 per cent increase in diameter.
The development represents the biggest investment at the Barrow shipyard since the Devonshire Dock Hall was built in 1986 to allow construction of the Vanguard class Trident submarines, and will see the shipyard at its busiest since the Trident programme ended.
The Devonshire Dock Hall, where submarines are constructed, will be extended to include a new manufacturing and installation facility, and in the shipyard's central yard two major new buildings will be built to house pressure hull units waiting for shot blasting and painting, and for joining submarine equipment modules.
The development programme will also include a new 28,000 square metre warehouse at Ramsden Dock which will be used to store parts for Successor submarines. BAE Systems hopes this will help improve efficiency and reduce supply chain delays in waiting for components to be delivered.
Around 850 contractors are expected to work on the development at its peak, which is subject to BAE Systems being able to acquire the necessary land and obtain planning permission for the scheme.
In addition to spending on new infrastructure at Barrow, the Ministry of Defence also announced a £23 million contract with BAE Systems to provide in-service support, maintenance and technical assistance for Astute Class submarines over the next 5 years.
Building and maintaining Britain's submarine fleet is expected to cost £38 billion over the next decade, according to the Ministry of Defence.