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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Defence boom will create thousands of BAE Systems jobs in Barrow

THE boom days of the 1980s look set to return to Barrow shipyard following a major announcement that more than £300m is to be spent on the site.

The investment – the biggest in the yard in more than 25 years – is needed to prepare the BAE Systems site to build the huge Vanguard Successor submarines.

The eight-year programme, which will employ around 850 contractors at its peak, includes new builds and revamping of existing infrastructure.

The Successor programme, and infrastructure work linked to it, will create thousands of jobs and significantly boost the local economy.

Philip Hammond, secretary of state for defence, was due at the shipyard today to formally make the announcement on a landmark day for the town.

The next generation of armed nuclear subs, to replace the original four Vanguard boats built in Barrow, remain subject to approval by the government in 2016.

But the process is already well under way, with around 1,300 people working on the design of Successor in Barrow.

In December last year, the Ministy of Defence awarded BAE Systems contracts totalling £79m to start procuring for the Successor programme which will carry the nation’s nuclear deterrent capability from 2028.

With work on the seven-boat Astute submarine programme still ongoing, multiple major construction projects will be under way over the coming years.

Demolition of some existing buildings will start this month – the first major activity of an ongoing programme.

The major construction projects will include:

  • An extension to the Devonshire Dock Hall construction hall to include a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and installation facility.
  • Two new major buildings that will house pressure hull units ready for shot blasting and painting and the integration of submarine equipment modules.
  • The refurbishment of the site’s main fabrication facility, together with its existing plant and machinery
  • An intention to build a 28,000m sq off-site logistics hub to store submarine parts and materials.

Tony Johns, BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines managing director, said: “We have to grow the shipyard for the Successor programme by another couple of thousand people and the facilities programme at its peak will probably employ another 850 people.

“So this is going to see the shipyard at its busiest in over 20 years.

“Subject to a satisfactory outcome at Maingate in 2016, this is really giving us the opportunity to see a resurgence in the submarine capability and takes us back to something akin to what was happening in the mid-to-late 1980s in terms of the volume of submarine construction here.

“This is perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity in that respect and one which we’ve got to work hard at, through our own business performance and ability to deliver to the customer, to make sure we land that opportunity over the next couple of years. But it’s great news for the town.”

BAE Systems is leading on the design of the Successor submarine, working alongside the MoD, Rolls-Royce and Babcock on a programme that now employs more than 3,000 people.

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