Defence Secretary pays tribute to those behind the ultimate guarantee of our national security

The Defence Secretary has commended the men and women keeping the UK safe this Christmas, in a year that has seen the Royal Navy conduct their 350th nuclear deterrence submarine patrol.

Since 1969 at least one Royal Navy ballistic submarine has been on patrol in the world’s oceans ensuring a continuous at sea deterrent. Today Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has provided the latest annual update to Parliament on the replacement nuclear deterrent submarine programme – Dreadnought.

This year’s update shows that:

  • £900 million was spent in the Financial Year 2016/17.
  • The Submarine Delivery Agency, the organisation responsible for delivering the new Dreadnought class submarines, stood up in April this year. This new delivery body will achieve full Executive Agency status and work alongside the Defence Equipment and Support organisation next year.
  • The whole boat design for the Dreadnought submarine programme is now 84% complete.
  • The Defence Nuclear Enterprise is supporting around 3,000 jobs working directly on the Dreadnought submarine programme.

Christmas is an important time to thank British soldiers, sailors and airmen across the globe, but we must not forget all the extraordinary men and women behind the nuclear deterrent who work so hard to ensure we are protected every hour of every day.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson

But the Defence Secretary was keen to pay tribute to the people behind the numbers.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our new generation of nuclear submarines will protect British lives and those of our allies from the extreme and increasing threats that we face.

“For almost 50 years our nuclear deterrent has been pivotal to our national security and ensuring the world is a safer place.

“Christmas is an important time to thank British soldiers, sailors and airmen across the globe, but we must not forget all the extraordinary men and women behind the nuclear deterrent who work so hard to ensure we are protected every hour of every day.”

At any one time, a Royal Navy submarine is patrolling the oceans around the world, armed with missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Britain currently has four Vanguard class submarines, which will be replaced by the Dreadnought class in the 2030s. The new submarines are currently being built by BAE Systems at Barrow.

Earlier this year the UK hosted talks on collective global security with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Council at HM Naval Base Clyde, the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Speaking during the visit in September, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “The nuclear forces of the Alliance, including those at Clyde Naval Base, are the supreme guarantee of the security of allied countries and populations.”