§ Sir Frederick Burden
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many highly skilled welders are required to complete an SSN submarine refit at Devonport; how many have so far been found; and how many will be required when three stream refits are actually being carried out.
§ Mr. Blaker
The number of specialist welders required to complete an SSN refit varied between different submarines, but typically it is about 70.
Adequate numbers of highly skilled welders are available at Devonport to meet the yard's current programme.
Three stream refitting will require the number of welders to be increased by approximately 50 per cent. Plans are being made accordingly and no difficulties are foreseen in the recruitment of the necessary manpower.