British Navy has awarded BAE Systems PLC a £257 million ($385 million) contract to complete design work on the country’s next submarine capable of firing nuclear warhead-equipped ballistic missiles.
Britain plans to replace the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines that provide its nuclear weapons force from 2028.
The money is on top of almost GBP650mln of contracts the defence group won three years ago for early design work on the submarines, known as the Successor class.
BAE said the latest round of funding will support 1,400 jobs at the company on a program that has so far involved almost 240 suppliers.
Announcing the contract, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The UK has been committed to a continuous at-sea deterrent for more than 45 years. This is because it is the responsibility of the British government to protect its citizens and provide this vital line of defence."
Tony Johns, managing director at BAE Systems' Submarines, said: "Designing a new, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is one of the most challenging engineering projects in the world today.
"The Successor program is the largest and most complex project we have ever faced. This funding will now allow us to mature the design over the next 12 months to enable us to start construction in 2016."
The 20 billion pound cost of replacing the vessels carrying the Trident missiles -- four ageing Vanguard-class submarines -- is not universally popular at a time when the government is trying to cut back on spending.