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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 035/97 March 17, 1997 MOD TO BUY NEW SUBMARINES IN #2 BILLION CONTRACT The Ministry of Defence has now agreed a #2 billion contract for three nuclear-powered fleet submarines. The new boats, to be known as the Astute Class, will enter service early next century. The Astute Class: - is a development of the Navy's Trafalgar Class - will replace the older Swiftsure Class - will have a range of roles, including anti-submarine and anti- ship warfare. They will carry: - Spearfish torpedoes - Harpoon anti-ship missiles - Tomahawk land attack missiles The boats will be built by GEC-Marconi at their VSEL shipyard in Barrow. This will be the first time the MOD has procured submarines with one prime contractor for design, build and in-service support. The Royal Navy currently has twelve nuclear-powered fleet submarines - five Swiftsure, seven Trafalgar Class. In answer to a Parliamentary Question from David Martin MP (Portsmouth South), the Minister for Defence Procurement, James Arbuthnot, said: "I am pleased to announce that a contract has been placed with GEC- Marconi as prime contractor for the design, build and initial support of three Batch 2 Trafalgar Class submarines. The new boats will be known as the Astute Class, and are expected to enter service early next century. The submarines will be built at GEC-Marconi's VSEL shipyard in Barrow. "The new vessels will be powered by the Rolls Royce PWR2 nuclear reactor, fitted with the updated weapons system of Batch 1 Trafalgar Class submarines, and armed with the Spearfish torpedo and Submarine- Harpoon anti-ship missile. They will be able to carry conventionally- armed Tomahawk cruise missiles. The Astute Class will replace the Royal Navy's existing Swiftsure Class boats as these vessels reach the end of their operational lives in the early part of the next century. They will perform a wide range of roles, including anti- submarine and anti-surface warfare. "The order was won in competition with VSEL, before the company was taken over by GEC-Marconi, and the decision was based on what would provide the best value for money for the taxpayer. The contract will be worth nearly #2 billion to GEC-Marconi and their subcontractors, and will help to sustain around 7000 jobs. It has been warmly welcomed by the Royal Navy, and is good news for Barrow and the many subcontractors who will be working on the project across the UK." Notes to Editors The Astute Class - formerly known as the Batch 2 Trafalgar Class - will replace the Royal Navy's current Swiftsure Class SSN's, the first of which entered service in 1973. The performance specification of the Astute Class is similar to that of the updated Trafalgar Class, though they will be powered by the Rolls Royce PWR2 nuclear reactor developed for the Vanguard Class ballistic missile submarines. The submarines' reactor cores are designed to last the life of the vessel. The Invitation to Tender for the submarines was issued in July 1994 to GEC and VSEL. Bids were received in June 1995, and shortly afterwards GEC bought out VSEL. The bids were kept apart to preserve competition and tender assessment was completed in December of the same year. The preferred bidder, on the basis of value-for-money and technical superiority, was GEC-Marconi. It was still necessary to negotiate an acceptable price, and while this has taken some time, the result is a taut contract giving excellent value-for-money to the taxpayer. Some 7000 jobs will be secured as a result of this order, at a variety of locations across the UK; further details are set out in the following table. Company Location Contribution GEC-Marconi Addlestone Prime contract office Ediburgh Weapon system electronics Frimley Weapons integration & performance modelling Weymouth Weapons systems integration GEC-Marine/VSEL Barrow-in-Furness Submarine design & assembly BAeSEMA New Malden Combat system software Glasgow Ship engineering Dorchester Combat system integration Thomson Templecombe, Sensor equipment Marconi Church Cookham, (including Sonar Suite and Stockport 2076) Rolls-Royce & Derby and Nuclear steam raising Associates Bath Plant Strachan & Henshaw Bristol Weapon handling & discharge system # = pounds sterling