On Monday 13 March, as part of the AUKUS trilateral agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, it was announced that BAE Systems will play a key role in helping Australia to acquire its first nuclear powered submarines.
The three nations will deliver a trilaterally developed submarine, based on the UK’s next generation design, incorporating technology from all three nations. Australia and the UK will operate SSN-AUKUS, as their submarines of the future, with construction expected to begin this decade.
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems Chief Executive said, "The AUKUS agreement will further enhance and deepen the relationship between the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The selection of the UK’s next generation submarine design is a significant development in that partnership and is a testament to the skills, commitment and ingenuity of everyone involved in both our Submarines business and the wider UK submarine enterprise. We employ more than 10,000 people in our Barrow-in-Furness shipyard delivering the Astute and Dreadnought submarine programmes for the UK’s Royal Navy and we’re extremely proud to be selected as a major partner in this historic endeavour which will ultimately enable Australia to acquire its own sovereign nuclear powered submarine fleet. As a key player in the Australian maritime enterprise, we also look forward to working with the Australian government to explore how we could potentially provide additional support to this important tri-national programme through our business in Australia."
BAE Systems has delivered five Astute class submarines to the UK Royal Navy, with the final two boats at advanced stages of construction at its shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. The first three of four Dreadnought submarines are also under construction at the site and the Company’s engineers are undertaking early design work on the replacement for the Astute class under a £85m contract announced in September 2021.
More than £1bn has been invested to develop and expand infrastructure at Barrow over recent years, including £25m in a state of the art training academy. Since 2020, BAE Systems has recruited more than 1,300 apprentices and graduates into its UK Submarines business, with plans to recruit a further 1,000 early careers trainees this year as it continues to invest in skills to support the delivery of the UK’s submarines programmes.