U.K. Royal Navy Gets the Go-Ahead for 7th Astute Submarine

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a £1.5 billion ($2 billion) contract with BAE Systems on May 14 for the delivery of the seventh and final Astute nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) of the class.

To be called HMS Agincourt, the latest contracted submarine represents a commitment by the Conservative government to maintaining a robust undersea presence despite revelations last week of a fiscal shortfall of up to £20 billion in the 11-year £178 billion defense equipment budget plan out to 2026. Although BAE had actually begun work on the new boat in 2014, the forecasted shortfall had led to concerns that final construction of the seventh submarine might be abandoned. 

The new submarine will have provision for 38 weapons in six 21-inch torpedo tubes, including the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo. It will also be capable of firing Tomahawk Block IV land attack missiles.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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