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Defence Defence

Complete the Astute class of hunter-killer submarines

Last updated: 11:58pm 30 December 2018

We have cut steel on the first of a new fleet of four Dreadnought ballistic missile boats and we will complete the Astute class of hunter-killer submarines.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.41

Our verdict

According to the Royal Navy website:

“The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy…”

The fleet was planned to comprise of seven nuclear-powered submarines, seen as fundamental to maintaining the safety of the UK, as made clear in the National Security Strategy:

“We judge that a minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent, based on Continuous At Sea Deterrence and assigned to the defence of NATO, remains vital to our national security.”

This policy promise to complete the fleet comes against a long history of delays and overspend for the submarine project.

Under this government, in April 2018, the Submarine Delivery Agency was launched, with one of its key jobs being:

“to manage the Dreadnought and Astute nuclear submarine programmes to time and budget”

Subsequently, in May 2018, the government announced a £1.5 billion contract with BAE systems for the final Astute class submarine, indicating a strong likelihood that the fleet will be completed.

We will consider this ‘done’ when the final submarine is commissioned. Until then, we’re marking it as ‘in progress’. We’ll continue monitoring the construction process. Follow this policy to get the latest information.

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