Babcock wins £750m UK submarine maintenance contract

An aerial photograph of Plymouth Naval base with several ships along side, which was taken as part of a Photex, it was taken from 2,000 feet. The Photex was conducted for 849 NAS based at RNAS Culdrose, by a Lynx MK3 from 815 NAS based at RNAS Yeovilton, testing a new radar system that will detect buildings and ships within the dock area.

International defence company Babcock International has signed a four-year £750m contract with the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Submarine Delivery Agency to deliver the infrastructure required to support and sustain the UK’s submarines in the coming decades.

Babcock is the MoD’s second-largest contractor and has multibillion-pound contracts to maintain the navy’s Astute and Vanguard sub fleets.

The new contract comes months after an urgent investigation was ordered in January this year, following a botched repair aboard a Trident nuclear submarine. According to The Sun, the 16,000-tonne HMS Vanguard was ‘fixed with superglue’ by civilian staff at Babcock when a bolt fell off during checks.

The new contract — part of the major infrastructure programme underway at the Devonport site — includes delivery of infrastructure to support submarine maintenance including a dock, logistics and modern support facilities.

Babcock will also deliver substantial upgrades to existing infrastructure to support the future capability of the Royal Navy and the UK’s Defence Nuclear Enterprise.

Britain has been scaling up military spending, like other Western nations, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In March, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new phase of a submarine pact with the U.S. and Australia.

“Investing in our vital submarine maintenance facilities in the Defence Nuclear Enterprise at Devonport is critical to our national security,” says Sir Chris Gardner KBE, CEO of the Submarine Delivery Agency. “I am delighted to have placed the construction contract with Babcock to deliver dock and infrastructure for our Attack Submarine deep maintenance projects later this decade. This will ensure we deliver available and capable submarines for the Royal Navy to operate in defence of our nation.”

David Lockwood, Babcock‘s chief executive, adds: “The work we deliver in sustaining the entirety of the UK’s submarine fleet is critical. This investment will ensure that we can continue to deliver the complex maintenance and life-extension programmes we undertake to ensure our Royal Navy can continue to go to sea safely and able to deliver their important work in protecting our nation.”

The MoD says the infrastructure programme will see a further 1,000 construction roles created as the construction phase of the programme continues to ramp up over the coming year.

“Maintaining the infrastructure that supports our world-leading submarine fleet is crucial,” says defence secretary, Grant Shapps.

“This significant investment will create and sustain more than a thousand UK jobs in the south-west, providing vital improvements to the dockyard that will be critical to ensuring our Royal Navy can continue to protect the UK and our allies.”

Main image: LA(PHOT) Paul A’Barrow./MOD

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