Rolls Royce wins £1 billion nuclear submarine deal
Contract with Ministry of Defence will secure jobs and development at firm’s Derby plant
ROLLS ROYCE Holdings Plc has won a £1 billion Ministry of Defence contract to deliver reactor cores for a new class of nuclear submarine.
The deal includes the refitting of Rolls Royce’s submarine propulsion reactor factory at Derby, where the company plans to introduce the latest technology and manufacturing techniques.
The investment will protect 300 jobs at the factory as well as jobs elsewhere, the BBC reports.
"This demonstrates the high level of trust the Ministry of Defence has in both our technology and the expertise of our highly skilled workforce," Jason Smith, Rolls Royce's CEO and Submarines Unit president said.
The deal could further strain the Coalition, which is split over plans to replace the country's four Vanguard submarines at an estimated cost of £25 billion when they retire from service in the 2020s.
Prime Minister David Cameron wants a new fleet of submarines that will continue to carry the Vanguard's Trident missiles, maintaining Britain's independent nuclear capability.
The Liberal Democrats are pushing for cheaper and less potent alternatives, arguing that the current capability - the ability to obliterate Moscow - is an outdated hangover from the Cold War.
"What we are going to be announcing is a commitment to the major refurbishing of the plant at Rolls Royce in Derby, which builds these core reactors - not just for the nuclear deterrent submarines, but also for our attack submarines, the Astute class submarines," Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said.
"So this is sustaining a sovereign capability in the UK, and some very high-end technical skills in the UK for the next 40 or 50 years."
A decision to build the submarines "won’t have to be taken until 2016 and what we’re doing at the moment is ordering the things that have to be ordered now to give us that option", Hammond said.