Royal Navy: Government signs huge £4bn contracts to build "hunter-killer" attack submarines in Aukus programme

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Huge contracts worth £4bn have been signed to build nuclear-powered “hunter-killer” submarines for the Royal Navy.

Defence secretary Grant Shapps announced the investment on the opening day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester yesterday. The MP for Welwyn Hatfield said the submarines – built by British firms – will be nuclear-powered and conventionally armed.

He added they will be the “most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy”. It was also announced that RAF Typhoons sent to Poland to support the UK ally from the “threat of Russian interference”, and that hundreds of extra troops will be deployed in Kosovo following a request from Nato.

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Grant Shapps delivering a speech on stage during the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on October 1, 2023. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images.Grant Shapps delivering a speech on stage during the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on October 1, 2023. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images.
Grant Shapps delivering a speech on stage during the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on October 1, 2023. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images.

Delivering his speech, Mr Shapps said: “Today, I can announce that we’ve signed contracts worth £4bn with leading British businesses to drive forward the development of the most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.”

Mr Shapps said “these hunter-killer Aukus submarines will empower the Royal Navy to maintain our strategic advantage under the sea”, and will support “thousands of jobs”. The Conservative Party said the contracts have been signed with BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock Marine.

"I can announce the UK has stepped up again with two deployments. First in response to requests from our Polish friends, RAF Typhoons are landing in Poland as I speak to support our Nato ally with the greater threat of Russian interference,” Mr Shapps added. “I authorised the full deployment of a battalion-size UK strategic reservists to Nato’s Kosovo peacekeeping mission.

“In the days ahead, hundreds of soldiers from the 1st battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment will join 400 British servicemen and women already in Kosovo.”