BARROW-IN-FURNESS, England, March 13 (Reuters) - Britain will fund a 300 million pound ($498.15 million)redevelopment of BAE Systems’s submarine shipyard, in a bid to prepare it for the costly and controversial renewal of its submarine-based Trident nuclear deterrent.
The Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on Britain’s north-western coast, which has been building submarines since 1886, will be refurbished and expanded to prepare it for the construction of a successor to the country’s fleet of Vanguard class submarines, which carry the Trident nuclear missiles, BAE said on Thursday.
The announcement is likely to strain the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government which has been divided over whether to replace or scale back the fleet carrying the deterrent. A like-for-like replacement would cost 20 billion pounds.
“The Successor programme, to replace the Vanguard class submarines, remains subject to final approval in 2016, but it is vital we begin these improvements now in order to achieve the Government’s target of having the first submarine in service by 2028,” said Tony Johns, managing director of the submarine division of BAE Systems Maritime.
BAE is leading on the design of the Successor submarine and supported by Rolls-Royce and Babcock.