§ Mr. Franks
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when the first Trident submarine is to be ordered; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
An order has today been placed with Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL) for the Royal Navy's first Trident submarine. She will be named HMS Vanguard. The value of the current contract on VSEL which also includes the completion of the first of class work for the SSBNs is some £650 million.
HMS Vanguard will be the fifth British nuclear submarine to be armed with strategic nuclear weapons. 420W She will enter service in the mid-1990s when the phasing out of Polaris will begin, thus ensuring that the United Kingdom retains an effective and credible strategic deterrent well into the next century.
This is a major order for VSEL and the first since it was privatised. It is likely to provide employment for about 4,000 people at Barrow and at least 5,000 elsewhere in industry. This order follows closely the orders earlier this year for the Royal Navy's 19th nuclear powered fleet submarine HMS Triumph and the three conventional Upholder class submarines, HMS Unicorn, HMS Ursula and HMS Unseen.
Messrs Rolls-Royce and Associates have special responsibility for the design and manufacture of nuclear reactor plant equipment and General Dynamics, electric boat division, in the USA, is responsible for the design of the strategic weapon system spaces of the submarine.