BARROW’s biggest employer BAE Systems has been awarded a massive £257m to carry out work on a major project.
BAE Systems has announced that the additional funding will be used to cover the final phase of design work for the Successor programme at its Barrow shipyard, which will see the design and manufacturing of the replacement to the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarine.
This latest instalment follows the £643m that has already been invested into the project in 2012 and has enabled it to commence the initial design of the submarine.
The contract will sustain the jobs of more than 1,400 employees working on Successor at the shipyard and has already engaged with more than 240 suppliers.
Tony Johns, managing director of BAE Systems – Maritimes, said: “Designing a new, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is one of the most challenging engineering projects in the world today.
“The Successor programme is the largest and most complex project we have ever faced. This funding will now allow us to mature the design over the next 12 months to enable us to start construction in 2016.
Defence secretary, Michael Fallon, said: “The UK has been committed to a continuous at-sea deterrent for more than 45 years. This is because it is the responsibility of the British government to protect its citizens and provide this vital line of defence. It is therefore crucial that we continue to invest in the Successor programme to be ready for a final decision on renewal next year.”
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “This fresh release of investment will help keep the programme on track as our superb workforce gears up for the challenge of building successor.
“It was great to see the latest progress in the yard first hand this week and underline the cast-iron consensus that now exists across both main parties to get this job done.
“Previous delays mean the build schedule is now very tight so the money from government needs to keep flowing.”
Simon Fell, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Barrow, said: “This investment is a vote of faith by the Conservative government in the Successor programme and Barrow.
“It will secure 1,400 jobs at the yard and give BAE the security they need to continue and invest in the future of our community.”
BAE Systems employs around 6,500 people at the shipyard where it is also building the Astute class – seven state-of-the art nuclear-powered attack submarines for the Royal Navy.
Last year, BAE created 900 skilled jobs and the recruitment drive is set to continue throughout 2015.
Mr Fallon concluded: “It is thanks to our long-term economic plan that we are able to invest in this latest wave of design funding, which will help to secure the jobs of hundreds of people working across the MOD’s three main industrial partners working on the Successor programme. This underlines how important this work is to the British economy as well as the future security of the UK.”
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