The Ministry of Defence has released a list of fifty contracts currently in place for the development of the new 'Successor' Trident replacement submarine that is intended to replace the UK's current Vanguard class nuclear weapon submarines.
The list was published by Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support, and Technology, in response to a written Parliamentary Question asked by Paul Flynn MP.
The list of contracts gives an insight into how far advanced design work is on the 'Successor' project. As well as main design phase contracts with prime contractors BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Babcock, the list also includes a range of further contacts for detailed elements of submarine design. These include design of the nuclear propulsion plant for the submarine, strategic weapon system system requirements, pressure hull requirements, and propulsor design. A number of the contracts relate to measures for silencing the submarine and reducing its acoustic signature, making it more difficult to detect while underwater, and there is one contract for design of a countermeasure system to defend against torpedo attack. The list also includes a contract for further development of construction facilities at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, where the UK's nuclear powered submarines are built, and for future support for the Successor submarine capability.
The list does not give contract costs and Mr Dunne's answer warns that information has been provided “to the extent possible, while not breaching commercial confidentiality or national security considerations”, leaving open the possibility that it does not represent a full list of current Successor contracts.