In 2007 the UK Government stated that the current Vanguard Class
submarines cannot last indefinitely and would begin to end their working
lives sometime in the late 2020s (possibly 2028). A replacement
submarine would need about 17 years of development and that early
decisions on a replacement were required.
A number of studies are underway to determine the specifics of the
solution that will replace the current Trident/Vanguard Class system,
with a likely successor being a submarine launched ballistic arrangement
(our interpretation of the evidence).
Trident Successor Programme
UK Government policy remains as set out in the Strategic Defence and
Security Review 2010, in that a continuous submarine-based deterrent
will be maintained and that work has begun on replacing the Vanguard
class submarines. The UK MoD is continuing work on the assessment phase
of the Successor submarine programme, to inform a Main Gate decision in
2016. Currently (2013) the Cabinet Office is leading a review into
whether there are alternative systems and postures that could maintain a
The Trident Successor programme will be funded from the MoD’s core
equipment budget and the MoD has also confirmed that once the new
submarine comes into service, the in-service costs of the UK’s nuclear
deterrent, including the costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment
(AWE), will be similar to the current level of around 5-6 per cent of
the defence budget.
An initial estimate is that the procurement costs for the complete new
system will be in the range of £25 billion for a four-boat solution.
The replacement programme is currently is the Concept Phase and the
costs will be refined as experts continue to engage in detailed
discussion with industry.
During mid 2013 an Integrated Programme Management Team (IPMT) was in
place to manage the delivery of the Successor submarine programme. It
comprises about 50 personnel from the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems
Maritime-Submarines, Babcock Marine and Rolls-Royce.
The Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) is the consolidated plan linking
all the activities required to deliver the Successor submarine programme
and this plan is maintained on a continuous basis. If the Successor
submarine programme goes ahead following Main Gate approval in 2016 and
proceeds to production, it will sustain thousands of jobs across the UK
submarine industry, including businesses at all levels of the submarine
The current nuclear warheads will remain viable until the late 2030s and
therefore, a decision on the replacement warhead will now be deferred
Submarine Service personnel
The latest figures we have for the Submarine Service was 3,478 personnel
(638 officers, 299 warrant officers and 2541 other ranks). This figure
includes personnel assigned to the six crews for the four Vanguard
submarines and submarine service personnel assigned to posts elsewhere
in the MoD
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